Merced has record of generosity

Times are tough, right?

People get tight with their cash when there's a recession, right?

They don't have time to think of others, right?

In most places, you'd be right.

In Merced, folks facing hard times dipped a little deeper and helped others facing even harder times. A brief list culled from items on the Sun-Star's website over the past 10 days or so:

The Merced Mall gave proceeds from its Breakfast with Santa to the Merced Fire & Kops for Kids Christmas toys program.

The Livingston Police Department toy drive saw 1,300 or so kids line up around the block in its own Kops 4 Kids event. Foster Farms, Dallas Distributing Co. and Livingston High all helped out.

VFW Post 4322 members visited 101 veterans in rest homes and assisted living places, telling them to contact them if they needed anything.

Concerned parents and others gathered to start the process to open a charter school in Catheys Valley after budget cuts closed the elementary school.

The Salvation Army helped Kari Woodral and her 3-year-old daughter -- among hundreds they helped.

Riggs Ambulance gave six families $100 food gift cards from Save Mart.

The Make-a-Wish foundation made a dream of Christmas lights come true in Chowchilla for 3-year-old Jeremiah Guillen, who's blind. Donating big-time was The Home Depot with $300 worth of Christmas lights.

Catholic Charities' annual Christmas Giveaway baskets helped up to 300 families, with Raley's, Richwood Meat, Merced County Food Bank, Toys for Tots and many local individuals pitching in.

Several dozen kids in the Adopt-a-Grandparent program sponsored by a local Christian nonprofit visited 68 people in the Franciscan Health Center suffering from Alzheimer's or some form of dementia. Some 70 people total donated to the visit.

UC Merced students, faculty and organizations gathered nearly 1,200 canned items and baked goods for the county Rescue Mission.

St. Anthony's School staged its annual food drive to help the St. Vincent de Paul Society and also collected 87 Koats-4-Kids.

Little Red Boxes in downtown Merced enlisted some big civic names to volunteer in the shop, with proceeds and tips going to the Rescue Mission.

Le Grand High students are getting help from UC Merced in preparing for college, thanks to a federal grant aimed at increasing the number of low-income and first-generation students in college.

Administrators on special assignment have been assigned one-on-one to students at several high schools, where the results in test scores, attendance and grades have been measurably better.

There are as many or more examples we didn't get a chance to report.

An impressive track record of generosity, thoughtfulness and charity from Mercedians to Mercedians.

Let's try to remember that in 2012 when we might be distracted by bad news or changes in fortune. Our track record for helping one another has been proven for a long, long time. The 2011 holiday period was no exception. Let's keep that in mind.

What do you think? If you want to comment on this editorial go to mercedsunstar.com/opinion, then click on "Send a letter to the Sun-Star."