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CLINE: Shining smiles make it easy to be proud

This time of year, we devote a lot of space -- and deservedly so -- to the many donations, toy drives and other good deeds done in the spirit of the Christmas season. The philanthropy says a lot about our county and deserves a spot in the community's newspaper.

As part of that community, the Daily Post is proud not only to spotlight those good deeds but to participate in them as well. It's a good feeling to help those in need, and this week some proud staffers have watched as children from Gwinnett County Department of Family and Children Services, whom the paper adopted for Christmas, came in to pick up gifts and assorted other goodies.

Sponsoring children from DFCS is a Christmas tradition at the Daily Post, and this year we adopted six children ranging in age from 10 months to 14 years. Employees contributed money or bought gifts from the children's wish list, bringing in everything from baby blankets to bikes.

We also had an office auction and bake sale, using some of the proceeds to fill out the children's lists and to make a donation to the Gwinnett Children's Shelter. The auction is an event everyone at the paper looks forward to, a chance to do some Christmas shopping at work while helping good causes at the same time.

A lot of items accumulate at a newspaper over the year, and we sell and auction off those things -- books, DVDs, toys, etc. -- along with tickets and other donated goods. It gives the different departments at the paper a chance to interact -- like a reporter and a circulation manager going back and forth over basketball tickets -- and it makes for a fun day, especially when some of the bidding gets intense.

We're fortunate to have some very good cooks and bakers in our ranks, so the bake sale has become a success as well. And who knows, maybe some of the more intense bidding wars are fueled by sugar highs.

Whatever the explanation, this year's auction proceeds were a record for the Daily Post, which says a lot in this tough economy. In addition to the monetary contributions, a lot of planning and work goes into coordinating the donations to the DFCS kids, planning the auction, baking the goodies and wrapping the presents.

I'm sure I speak on everyone's behalf in saying it's well worth the effort to contribute to moments like earlier this week when one of the young boys the paper adopted saw the bike that had been purchased for him. You don't get much purer happiness than that.

It made me think of a line our publisher uses at the end of his memos: "Be proud of the Post." After hearing stories like that one, it's an easy order to follow.

E-mail Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.