Sentinel Family Fund helps needy — and is great deal for giver

They take in the homeless veteran and shelter the battered spouse.

They teach the single mom to read and gather forgotten fruit to feed hungry children.

They are the dedicated souls who work year-round in nonprofits across Central Florida.

And this holiday season — while most of us count our blessings — we should also give thanks to those who care, all year round, for the least among us.

We should also give them assistance.

And there is no better way to do that than through the Sentinel's Family Fund.

Seriously, I'm not going to mess around with the soft sell here. You have turkey to eat, football to watch and after-Thanksgiving sales that you're already late for.

The single-best reason to give to the Family Fund isn't cloaked in emotional anecdotes. It's financial.

The Sentinel matches 50 cents for every dollar you donate.

You donate $100. We make it $150.

You give $500. We make it $750.

It is an immediate return on your investment.

We cover every penny of the administrative costs. And the money goes directly to 30 Central Florida nonprofits that transform lives.

In some cases, the help goes to children who have suffered through the horror of sexual abuse.

We're talking group therapy sessions for 3- to 5-year-olds — something $100 provides when your donation goes to the Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families' Healing Tree program.

In other cases, the help goes to women who have summoned the courage to flee abusive relationships.

Donations of $125 provide families food, clothing, child care, crisis counseling and one night's shelter, thanks to Harbor House of Central Florida.

Other times, your donation can mean the difference between families having a healthy dinner or going to bed with stomach pangs.

With just $200, the Society of St. Andrew can provide 10,000 servings of fruit and vegetables, thanks to dedicated souls who collect unwanted produce from fields and grocery stores.

The examples go on and on: Christmas presents for poor children (thanks to the Christian HELP); college prep for immigrant teenagers (Hope CommUnity Center); and reading classes for working parents who never finished high school (the Adult Literacy League).