Dear Readers: A Book of Dreams update

First, a big "Oh, my gosh!"

On Sunday, we bemoaned the grinchly state of our annual Book of Dreams fund-raising drive. A Book of Dreams is our holiday project helping people in need in our community and agencies dedicated to serving others. This is our 18th year publishing this very special book and it always gets off to a slow start. Sunday, we had only $12,697 toward our goal of more than $85,000.

Things were looking grim, and we were thinking about chunks of coal rather than dreams come true.

But since Sunday, you have responded oh, so generously, bringing our total to $31,853.05. It's still far off our goal, but so much better than before.

Because we're ever the optimists when dealing with A Book of Dreams, here's one more down-to-the-wire, earnest plea: We need your help.

If we meet our goal, we will be able to help the children served by the Modesto Gospel Mission, families who are supported by Friends Outside, children battling cancer, heart disease, obesity and asthma, a grandmother raising three grandchildren, a father who wants to get his life back on track for himself and his children, and a mom and dad who normally help people but find themselves forced to ask rather than give this year.

So many needs, so much to do and so little time. We depend on you to help us.

Please, if you can, provide the children of our community with a special holiday angel to grant their dreams.

Send contributions to: A Book of Dreams Fund, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 4922, Modesto 95352. Financial donations are tax-deductible. The Stanislaus Community Foundation administers the funds. The deadline is Monday, Christmas Eve. You can find A Book of Dreams online at www.modbee.com/dreams.

Thank you again for sharing in the spirit of this holiday season.

Susan Windemuth

Assistant managing editor