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Help makes a difference Holiday generosity is alive and well, but charitable opportunities still abound

These are the things that make you feel good about people, especially at Christmastime:

A local contractor came to a Buffalo couple's rescue last week, hauling away broken tree limbs left over from the October snowstorm.

Don DeWitt, owner of Chase Renovations, was disturbed that Ron and Christine Angielczyk were left without help for a task their age and health would not allow them to do themselves. He rearranged his schedule and on Tuesday -- the same day he read about the Angielczyk's plight in The Buffalo News -- he got the $2,500 job done. For free.

Meanwhile, on the same day, a young couple from North Tonawanda spotted an envelope in an empty shopping cart in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Inside was $3,200, enough to put a large dent in the costs of their upcoming wedding and to rid themselves of some debts.
But Allison Walker and David Schimpf never considered that. They tried to find the owner and, when they couldn't, turned the cash over to Amherst police. It was a heartening story, if you omit the part about the money being claimed by two people -- at least one of them apparently a Scrooge of the first order.

Not everyone has the opportunity to find missing money, or devote a day's work to a stranger in need, of course, but everyone with a few extra dollars can follow these examples in this season of giving. Many charities are collecting at this time of year. We hope everyone will give to at least one, and we especially hope everyone will consider a gift to The News Neediest Fund.
New, unwrapped toys, games, athletic equipment and the like are needed for 8- to 12-year-olds. Cash donations will help buy 12,000 holiday dinners for those who otherwise might not have one.
Drop-off sites for gifts include The Buffalo News lobby at Washington and Scott streets; the News' Niagara County Bureau at 8353 Niagara Falls Blvd. in Niagara Falls (the Military Road side of Pine Plaza); all Wegmans stores in Erie and Niagara counties; and Toys for Tots donation barrels throughout the region. For large group donations of gifts, call Deborah Patti at 849-5524.
Cash donations may be mailed to: The News Neediest Fund, Station C Post Office, 1245 Main St., P.O. Box 444, Buffalo, NY 14209-0444.
Giving to strangers is a good exercise for everyone to try this year. We especially recommend it to the Amherst Scrooge.

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