Book of Dreams: Your charitable donations help those in need

Donja Garvey, of the non-profit My Mother's Voice, embraces children after a book and blanket give a way at Cirby Elementary School in Roseville on Friday, Nov.  18, 2022.

Donja Garvey, of the non-profit My Mother’s Voice, embraces children after a book and blanket give a way at Cirby Elementary School in Roseville on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

Jose Luis Villegas

We’ve changed so much in the past few years and may now, even after all we’ve been through, take for granted that we can gather together for Thanksgiving and argue about masks while seeing each other smile. Even with our assorted daily problems, so many of us recognize, this is better. Life is better.

What has not changed, though, is that life is a struggle for so many others, and as we talk together, eat together, laugh together, we can still find a moment to wish others felt the same joy. How do we make that happen? This is that moment, on Thanksgiving, to give thanks and be thankful to give.

For more than three decades – we’re in our 35th year – The Bee has offered you to help write a figurative page in Book of Dreams, our annual charitable effort during the holiday season. Between now and Christmas, we will spotlight people and organizations who need help in lifting the burden of others, in bringing some of the joy you are feeling now.

What we do

Every fall, we ask for nominations for “dreams,” small and great wishes to help people in need. Working with the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, The Bee selects which holiday wishes to spotlight, to help make come true. We tell 10 stories, with words and images that we hope warm your heart and give you an outlet for your generosity. We also found others with your donations.

Giving lifts spirits twice.

That’s what Donja Garvey of My Mother’s Voice says.

In Tony Bizjak’s story about her organization’s request for funds for books for children, she talks about the happiness she feels: “I get so much joy out of seeing kids realize their potential and get some of the things, like books, that they all deserve .”

Last year, you found joy in contributing more than $144,000. Your contributions provided athletic shoes for kids, groceries for seniors, funds to help blood donations – and for homeless shelters, youth training and myriad grateful smiles. This year, we will be highlighting, among others, stories about how to help Afghan and Ukranian refugees, find bicycles for the needy, and provide assistance to those who survived wildfires.

Who we are

Bizjak is a former Bee reporter. Joining him is Patricia Macht, another correspondent who loves the Book of Dreams program and picks up what is now her tradition of writing stories for us. Lori Richardson, also a former Bee newsroom veteran, will write stories, with visuals produced and coordinated by our visuals editors Nathaniel Levine and Lezlie Sterling.

Behind the project is Bob Shallit, a former editor at The Bee, and a veteran of Book of Dreams – he has volunteered to steer the coverage. Also critical to our effort is Terri Yamagata, who makes sure we field the requests and works closely with the Sacramento Region Community Foundation to shepherd your donations.

Our team of Book of Dreamers has provided simple mechanisms for you to donate money. For information and to see past stories, you can go to our page,

One more note: Last December former Bee editor and writer Allen O. Pierleoni died. He was known, as his obituary noted, as a “columnist, travel writer, food critic and bookworm.” As an editor in the Features department, Pierleoni started Book of Dreams at The Bee and was its first champion. He thought this was a way for people to be generous and make lives better. As legacies go, that’s a pretty good one for us to be thankful for.

—Scott Lebar, managing editor

To claim a tax deduction for 2022, donations must be postmarked by Dec. 31, 2022. All contributions are tax-deductible and none of the money received will be spent on administrative costs. Partial contributions are welcome on any item. In cases where more money is received than requested for a given need, the excess will be applied to meeting unfulfilled needs in this Book of Dreams. Funds donated in excess of needs listed in this book will fulfill wishes received but not published and will be donated to social service agencies benefiting children at risk. The Sacramento Bee has verified the accuracy of the facts in each of these cases and we believe them to be bona fide cases of need. However, The Bee makes no claim, implied or otherwise, concerning their validity beyond the statement of these facts.

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