The Gift of Giving Editor's note: During December the Auburn Journal is publishing a series of 12 stories on volunteers in our community. The stories are meant to inspire others to donate their time, talent and money to local charities. --------------------- Christmas morning is a mere 48 hours away. In a whirlwind of last-minute shopping and wrapping, you’ve crossed every name off your list. But the nagging feeling lingers … “did I forget someone?” Perhaps you did — you forgot to get a gift for Auburn. Giving the gift of your time or money is a great way to show the community you care. It can also make you feel great about helping a local cause you support. If you haven’t already, make room for a little gift to Auburn alongside the golf balls for Uncle Fred and new scarf for Grandma. Giving a gift to the community is as easy as perusing the 12 notable nonprofits we are featuring in our Gift of Giving series. Since Dec. 13, the Journal has profiled a volunteer with a local nonprofit each day. So far, we’ve featured Cassie Reeves with Auburn Area Animal Rescue Foundation, Howard Stoltz with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Sallysue Stein with Meals on Wheels, Steve Davis with Placer Nature Center, Eric Peach with Protect American River Canyons, Kathy Miller with the Auburn Area Christmas Basket Program, Michelle Higginbotham with PEACE for Families, Ed Gilligan with the Auburn Education Foundation and Stuart Dodge with the Auburn Boys & Girls Club. (Surf over to Auburnjournal.com and search “The Gift of Giving” to read the Q & As on these volunteers.) Today, we feature Angela Atteberry of the Salvation Army and still to come are volunteers with The Gathering Inn and the Folsom-Auburn Trail Riders Action Coalition. These volunteers give a gift to Auburn 365 days a year with their service to the community. There are plenty of others who donate their time and resources to deserving programs, more than we have room to name here. Find a cause you support – be it the homeless, the arts, youth or animals — and pull out the checkbook. Your gift could save another dog from euthanasia or give a schoolteacher much-needed supplies to keep their programs alive. Local charities and those nationwide report that giving is not keeping up with demand this year. The Associated Press reports that in a survey by Catholic Charities, 76 percent of the agencies in its national network are seeing an increased demand for food while 72 percent have cut operating costs. The Bridgespan Group, a Boston-based adviser to charities, said 80 percent of the 100 nonprofits responding to its latest survey are coping with funding cuts. In Auburn, the Salvation Army reports that although the need for help has increased, donations are not keeping pace. Unemployment and the housing crisis have caused people who never sought help before to contact their local food closets and charitable organizations looking for a way to stay afloat. But whether you can afford to make a financial donation or not, you can still make a huge contribution by volunteering. Get involved in our community and share your time and talents. To all those volunteers already out there — thank you. And to all those who made donations, whether it was a brand-new toy in the red barrels or a handful of change dropped into a Salvation Army kettle – you made a difference. And if you’ve found room in your heart – or your pocketbook – to help, make that commitment now and give a Christmas gift to your favorite local charity.