As the Dr. Seuss tale goes, the Grinch stole Christmas in Whoville by taking their presents, their Christmas trees and even their "roast beast.”

Here in Dallas, we may not have the Grinch, but we do have poverty, abuse, illness and hunger — all conditions that can steal Christmas from families, children and senior citizens in our community. With your help, however, our city’s story can have a happy ending this holiday season.

Many local organizations coordinate holiday programs to help the less fortunate. Here are just a few ways you can help:

At the Care 4 Kids center in East Dallas, you can sort toys, clothes and other donations throughout the month of November. This new holiday program benefits the clients of the Wilkinson Center and other agencies that serve needy families.

Maybe you look good in a Santa suit. If so, Operation Kindness, a no-kill animal shelter, needs you to pose for pet photos. (And if you don’t resemble St. Nick, you can always register pets for their photos.)

Looking for a huge holiday celebration? Don’t miss the 25th annual Love For Kids Christmas Party at Circle R Ranch in Flower Mound. On December 11, 3,000 disadvantaged children (and 600 volunteers!) will gather to play games, eat lunch and ride horses. 

The Glad Tidings program is perfect for those of you who want to help but just don’t have the time. Your monetary contributions will be used to purchase grocery gift certificates for the elderly, those with AIDS and others who often must spend their money on medication rather than food.

Of course, if you’d rather adopt a family, hold a toy drive or deliver presents, you’ll want to check out the 19th annual edition of Holiday Harvest™, a guide to holiday volunteer opportunities. The books are available free at local libraries and on the Volunteer Center’s web site at www.non-profits.org.

So don’t let the Grinch steal Christmas. Call the Volunteer Center at 214-826-6767 and find out how you can help.