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It's never too late to donate to the Buffalo News/Rotary Club Crippled Children's Camp Fund.

A batch of gifts were mailed in the few days before Christmas, and if past practice holds forth, many checks will be mailed out in coming days. In fact, Camp Fund donations arrive throughout the year.

The latest contributions bring the fund to $55,140.38, still short of the $100,000 level that the drive has generated in recent years.

Additional donations may be mailed to The Buffalo News Camp Fund, Box 100, Buffalo, 14240.

All donations will be acknowledged and used only for camp operations. Today's list of contributors is on Page B4.

Three Hamburg families exhibited a high form of goodwill, charity and compassion when they combined their potential Christmas gift spending and sent it to the Camp Fund, which helps support Cradle Beach Camp.

The letter accompanying the check read in part that the families "are presenting these checks in lieu of gifts to each other (and) for people who have a greater need than ourselves."

Some of those needs will be addressed next July and August, when more than 800 selected boys and girls between 8 and 17 years are invited for nearly two weeks of camping, Cradle Beach style. They will attend one of the four sessions. Half the boys and girls at each session will have a physical handicap. Some may not be able to walk. A few may not see or hear, and a few more may need help in sitting up.

But with lifting hands and caring words, the counselors help some campers do as much as they can -- and perhaps a little more. And the indefinable magic of being with other children, some with similar problems, some with different ones, works its wonders for the spirit.

There's another aspect to the 12 days of Christmas at Cradle Beach. That's a period when parents and other family members who help their Cradle Beach camper all the other weeks of the year have a respite.

"When my son goes to Cradle Beach Camp, I almost feel as though I am going to camp too," one mother said recently. "I can do what I want when I want and without worrying about my son. I know he's well attended at Cradle Beach."

People who remember loved ones are major donors to the Cradle Beach Camp Fund. So are elementary schoolchildren whose teachers know a lesson worth teaching.

Children from Phyllis Weyer's third-grade class at the Windom Elementary School in Orchard Park, Mrs. Waterman's third-graders at Woodrow Wilson School in Sloan and Mr. Dietz's fifth-graders at Heim Elementary School in Williamsville all sent gifts.

Bowlers from the Wednesday Morning Glories at the Airport and the Monday Night League at the Alden Lanes also saw fit to assist this 45th annual drive.

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