A white Christmas is a sentimental wish, but here's a more important one: Let's hope for a truly warm holiday for the people of our region.

We're not talking about global warming. We're talking about food and shelter.

There is goodness all around us, but there also is sadness and helplessness.

You can't escape the need. In fact, you shouldn't.

Recently, we told the sad tale of a homeless man who lost his long battle with alcohol and was found dead just a block from the La Crosse Warming Center.

This week, a homeless woman who often stayed at the Warming Center was struck by a car and critically injured, likely on her way to get breakfast at the Salvation Army shelter.

The tragic episodes remind us of the challenges of homelessness, addiction and other problems related to poverty.

Those problems know no season.

Thankfully, this is a generous community - and the holidays are a time of generosity.

Can one person make a difference? Yes -- even a generous 11-year-old can make this a better place to live.

Eleven-year-old Katie Sauer, who has donated to the Coulee Region Humane Society for several years, is pledging $1,000 to sponsor a chair in the new La Crosse Performing Arts Center.

She's already a fourth of the way to her goal, thanks to savings from baby-sitting and other activities.

Katie shows us all the value of generosity.