Book of Dreams

A little more help is needed to reach our Book of Dreams goal. Can you assist?

Luna 3yrs picks out books to look at Monday afternoon November 5, 2018 at Family Promise of Greater Modesto in Modesto, Calif.
Luna 3yrs picks out books to look at Monday afternoon November 5, 2018 at Family Promise of Greater Modesto in Modesto, Calif.

A few weeks ago, I had coffee with two women who help Stanislaus County’s unemployed and homeless find jobs.

During our meeting, one said time and again how amazed she was by the number of residents who step forward to donate their time or treasures when there’s a need.

I’ve heard the same thing several times in my nearly 30 years in Modesto, and it’s become somewhat of a theme as I continue to meet more and more people in the community.

So I wasn’t surprised by the amount of support we’ve received as we rekindled our “A Book of Dreams” program, which this year is focusing on seven nonprofit agencies that help those who need shelter.

(Click here to donate)

To those who have donated, a big thanks to all of you. We’ve had about 170 individuals, families and business owners who have stepped forward, including Bill Lyons, who last week, on behalf of his family, donated $10,000.

“Mapes’ Ranch is pleased to support this year’s Book of Dreams in honor of our parents, Bill Lyons Sr. and Mary Lyons,” said Bill Lyons. “Our homeless service and community providers are operating at maximum capacity and in need of our community’s support now more than ever before. We’re hopeful our contribution will encourage others to donate to these worthwhile organizations during this holiday season and beyond.”

A few days later, another $10,000 arrived from an anonymous donor.

This summer, we went to the Stanislaus Community Foundation to see how we could reignite the program and really impact the community. Developed and nurtured by a former editor, Susan Windemuth, “A Book of Dreams” has reached out to help individuals and nonprofit agencies for nearly 30 years.

It’s always been a mission of mine that The Bee serve and support our community. Our managing editor, Patty Guerra, brought up the idea of finding someone to offer a matching gift. Within a few weeks, Marian Kaanon, the Stanislaus Community Foundation’s president and chief executive officer, found a partner in Stanislaus County’s Focus on Prevention, which put up $25,000 in a matching gift.

Currently, and collectively, we’re at a little more than $68,000.

Still, and I know it’s a big ask, we’re hoping with a week left in the program, a few more of our readers will step forward to get us to our goal of $75,000.

That would go a long way toward helping each of our agencies — Haven Women’s Center, Host House, Stanislaus Family Promise, Children’s Crisis Center, the Modesto and Turlock gospel missions and the Salvation Army. You can read more about the agencies — what they do and who they serve — at There is video accompanying each story.

You can donate online by going to In our print edition, we’ve been running our sign-up sheet if you prefer sending by mail. Just cut it out, fill out the information and send it in. The deadline is Dec. 31.

Again, I’d like to personally thank all of our contributors. Your impact is immense, and reinforces what a giving community we live in.

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Editor Brian Clark has worked at The Modesto Bee since 1990. He’s worked in various departments, including sports, news and on the digital side for a decade before being promoted to editor in 2018. He’s a native of Berkeley and a graduate of San Diego State University. Prior to The Bee, Brian worked at the Turlock Journal and Las Vegas Review-Journal.