Paula Carpenter, 40, tells her children, Ethan Carpenter, 7, left, and Aaron Carpenter, 5, that Christmas is more about giving than receiving. Presents will not be as plentiful as they were in past years. With paying rent, gas, utilities, phone bills — Paula said that she and her husband are focusing on the things they do have, including her husband’s job in a tough economy. Their family receives Salvation Army services in Renton.

Each year, The Seattle Times publishes “The Fund for the Needy,” a set of articles about local agencies who provide food banks, tutoring, toys for kids, housing and many other important offerings in our community. We featured Paula’s family in a recent article about the Salvation Army.

For the first time in its 33-year history, The Seattle Times’ Fund For The Needy has raised more than $1 million this holiday season. To read more about campaign, read Jack Broom’s recent article.

One of the best parts of living in Seattle is being apart of a community that is so generous.

Even though not every family can give money or toys — some give in other ways. While hanging out with Paula and her kids, she told me she was nervous about sharing their economic woes in the paper. However, she offered to share her family’s story because she realized she would be helping others in the process. Thanks for your generosity and grace, Paula.

All images – copyright Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times