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READERS RESPOND

Since the beginning of time, God has chosen special people to convey His announcements, messages and proclamations. As we read the Old and New Testament writings, we are invited to forgive and love one another, to remember those with greater needs than ours, and to follow the example of Christ now and always.

The challenge is placed before us each day as we read the News Neediest stories written by our inspired journalists. We are brought to awareness, compassion, love and selflessness through these journalists' messages in the Christmas season. Our generous response touches the lives of the downtrodden and the "poorest of the poor." May our special writers be blessed in return.

Sister Mary Johnice Rzadkiewicz, CSSF
Buffalo

We hear so much about strife and unkindness in the world today, but I can tell of an instance of great kindness. My wife and I were coming home from Canada and had stopped in Buffalo to drop off a nephew, when I saw steam coming from the front of the car. A young man soon stopped and asked if we needed help. We opened the hood, and another car stopped. This young man happened to be a friend of the first.

It was dark, and we couldn't tell what the trouble was. We told them we lived in Wheatfield, and we all decided it would not be wise for us to drive any farther. They drove us to a restaurant on Elmwood Avenue, where we would be warm and could use the phone. We wanted to pay them, but they refused.

Our daughter came to get us, but while we were in the restaurant, a girl working there came up to us and said one of the boys had called to be sure we had a way home. She, too, showed much concern about us. We are thankful there are still some nice, caring people in the world.

John K. Rogers
Town of Wheatfield

Ann Marie Zon has been working as a missionary in Nicaragua. On her trips back to the United States, she has promoted and begged for any and all types of clothing, medical supplies, furniture, food and books.

Over the years, she has enlisted groups of people, organizations, churches and individuals to help gather these items. To say she has been successful is an understatement. The central drop-off point for the goods is her parents' house in East Amherst. They are stored there until enough merchandise has been collected to load a huge container for shipment.

This is where I came in. It was loading and shipping day at the Zons'. I arrived to see about 30 people, men and women, working industriously. The average age was "old." But the spirit was "young." Each had a job. Each performed it like a member of a professional football team or a symphony orchestra. Some hauled, some lifted, some counted and some stacked the cartons.

After about four hours, the job was completed, the driveway swept, the rollers put away, the count taken. Now came the rewards. Mrs. Zon and the ladies prepared a lunch worth working for. As I left, I could hear the group planning for the next container-loading party.

To date the group has loaded 11 containers -- 15,500 cartons this year. Yes, there still are people who care. Thank God.

Sigmund Kucewicz
Depew

Years ago, if someone had a family member addicted to drugs or alcohol or afflicted with schizophrenia, it was difficult to get help. These people were referred to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center or Erie County Medical Center.

So Lynne Shuster decided to create a referral organization where people with those kinds of problems could call a central office and be guided to where they could get immediate attention. About 13 years ago, she created the Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Erie County. She served as president for five years and still maintains an office in her home and serves as administrator.

She also organizes volunteers to serve about 300 dinners to underprivileged people on Thanksgiving Day. At Christmastime, about 350 dinners are served at her annual Christmas Is For Kids party. Children receive a new toy from Santa and adults get a large bag of groceries and some gifts. Choruses join in to make it a wonderful party for the poor, who otherwise could not celebrate the joy of Christmas. It is impossible to estimate how many human beings Lynne has touched with her kindness.

James QA. Norris
Depew

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