One of the most rewarding things about my job is that I can shine the spotlight on problems that need to be addressed - such as when a nonprofit organization in our community needs financial help.

The economy and state and federal government budget cuts for things such as grants have conspired to pressure many nonprofits’ bottom lines. So this holiday season we decided to shine the spotlight on local nonprofits and what they need for Christmas.

Last week I wrote about the Somervell County Citizens Center and its need for donations to offset funding cutbacks.

Two days later, I ran into a reader at Pie Peddlers. He said the story had touched his heart. He whipped out his checkbook on the spot and wrote a check for $5,000.

“Here, you give it to them,” he said. He didn’t want to make a big deal about it or get recognition.

My colleague, Linda Rowe, and I drove down to the Citizens Center and waited for Pam Baker, the project director for the Somervell County Committee on Aging, to return from an errand. When she walked in the door, we told her the story and presented her with the check.

Her mouth dropped open.

“He said he’s going to challenge his wife to match his gift,” we told her.

On Monday, Linda met Jim Burkhart at the center to take a photo of him giving Baker another check, this one $900 from the Glen Rose Lions Club.

Then in walked another person with the $5,000 check from the first benefactor’s wife.

It’s amazing how quickly Glen Rose responds when someone or some organization is in need.

Last Friday Linda and I attended some of the festivities at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center’s annual “Dream Day” for families with severely challenged children. It was a day full of wonder and excitement for the kids. This week we’re spotlighting Fossil Rim in our “Gift of Giving” series because it, too, needs donations and gifts in-kind so it can continue its conservation work with endangered species.

Monday was the deadline for people who adopted students on the “angel trees” around town to bring their gifts to Glen Rose High School. Even though the economy has been sluggish again this year, residents opened their hearts and pocketbooks to help young people have a special Christmas.

All around us, people are giving to each other. They are giving time, money and love, often to people they don’t know, and expecting nothing in return except perhaps a heartfelt “thank you” and to know that they made a difference in someone’s life.

So while it’s fun to tear open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and receive that hot new toy or gadget, that’s not what Christmas is all about. I have more fun shopping for the kids I’ve adopted on angel trees than just about anything else. I imagine the look on their faces on Christmas Day when they receive that special item they requested and perhaps to realize that someone cared enough to get it for them.

Perhaps that boy or girl will grow up and remember the gift and pay it forward by becoming an angel to a child some day.

It’s not too late to add a child or organization to your Christmas list. Certainly, not everyone can whip out a checkbook and donate thousands of dollars on the spot. But if everyone reading this donated just $10 or $20 - the price of a toy or a shirt - to a local nonprofit, think how many more people they could feed, clothe and care for.

So please give this holiday season to a worthy cause you support or a child who may not have as much as you have or your children will have this Christmas. The best thing to receive at Christmas is the joy of giving.