All too often, the hope, goodwill and peace of the Christmas season somehow gives way to a hectic string of social engagements and overspending. More than any other year, people are skipping presents and for nonprofits like the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, the lack of donations can be devastating. For many of us, we can’t afford to contribute as much as we would like to. We become disheartened and feel we can’t make a difference; however you don’t have to give a lot of money or even a lot of your time to make a contribution. HAAM is in desperate need of toys this year, and every toy counts towards their goal of giving each child three new toys at Christmas. One suggestion: give books. Lenore Hershey, a former editor of McCall’s Magazine and The Ladies Home Journal, once said, “Give books- religious or otherwise- for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful and permanently personal.” Books are inexpensive. I bought my 10-year-old a series of High School Musical books for Christmas that are wrapped and waiting under the tree. The cost? Each book was less than $5. Be a volunteer. HAAM has a number of ways to volunteer. When I was growing up, my grandmother had my sister and I spent our winter breaks bagging food at Crossroads Urban Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The center is a nonprofit that helps low income families through a pantry, thrift store and other related services much like HAAM. In 2000, the center named the food pantry after my grandmother, Luisa E. Lema, for her more than 20 years dedication. It’s a hard act to follow. Organizations such as HAAM rely on the generosity of others and the commitment of volunteers, so as you finish your holiday shopping, keep the feeling of Christmas in your heart and don’t forget about those less fortunate. For more information or to volunteer, call 281-446-3663 ext. 120.

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