Good deeds don’t happen by accident.

Some are jump-started by coincidence — a need presents itself and a well-meaning person responds. But most are the result of careful thought and planning, of addressing a need not as a single incident but as a confluence of circumstances that will rear their heads again and again.

The needs become a calling, and people rally together to address them.

We see the work of nonprofits year round. It takes on many forms, from feeding hungry people to sheltering neglected animals, from offering grief counseling for hurting families to fighting illness and disease, from helping a local child learn to read or play a sport to sending gifts across an ocean for a child in poverty.

And the work is hard because the need is great.

This is the giving season, for both philanthropic and practical reasons. Because of the blessings in our own lives, we’re reminded of misfortune in the lives of others and often moved to make a gift. And many are looking at their year-end accounting and looking to do some charitable giving.

Whatever the motivation, the money enables these organizations to pay their staffs and rent and buy the goods and services to accomplish their goals.

But the money isn’t enough. Writing a check helps an organization balance its own bottom line, but what most of these groups will tell you is they need dedicated volunteers.

There is much more to do. We thank all of our readers who use their time to make their communities better places to live, and encourage any who have not found a place to donate and serve to consider it this holiday season.

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