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Santa visiting preschoolers

Kaidence Seibert, 2, and Sarainna Jones, 3, talk to Santa at Explorers Academy, a Head Start program, on Dec. 11 in Billings.

On Christmas Day, The Billings Gazette is sharing messages of thanks from 40 nonprofit organizations. These charitable groups depend on the generosity of community volunteers, private donations and local business sponsorships.

The Gazette invited helping and cultural organizations to send letters for Christmas Day publication in this special four-page Opinion section. Their response is wonderfully uplifting. From Billings to Joliet, Forsyth and Great Falls, nonprofits serving our region give thanks for the support that enables them to carry out their missions of service year-round.

As Christians celebrate the Christ child’s birth today and many of us exchange gifts, it’s gratifying to see how much good our charitable giving does.

Many empty stockings were filled by compassionate Gazette readers. Senior citizens received new clothing. Foster children’s Christmas toy wishes were fulfilled. Homeless individuals and families were sheltered. Homelessness was prevented by agencies that helped financially struggling people with groceries, rent and heat bills.

Seriously ill adults and children received the specialized and immediate care they needed to start healing.

Children whose families couldn’t afford preschool had the opportunity for high-quality instruction thanks to scholarships.

Parenting classes and respite child care were available to moms and dads just for the asking.

Student musicians had greater opportunities to play.

Donors and volunteers boosted literacy by supporting the library.

All of these helping organizations and dozens more make our community a better place to live and work. We appreciate the hard-working Christmas letter writers — and the supporters that make their continued operations possible.

Merry Christmas to all the helpers. The Billings Gazette wishes everyone a safe and joyous holiday week.

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