Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: We have lived in a small apartment complex for four years. The family next door has lived here a little longer. We get along well with our neighbors and respect each other's boundaries.

I have a habit that I fear may be inappropriate, and I would like your opinion. Our neighbors subscribe to the newspaper, which is delivered very early every morning, long before they get up. I'm an early riser and I hear it hit their front porch. As soon as it does, I reach over and borrow it. I read only my family's horoscopes, the comics and, of course, your column. I never keep any part of their paper, and I always fold it carefully and place it on their porch before they wake up.

Am I doing wrong by sneaking a peek from their daily newspaper? I hope to read your response in their paper. -- SNEAK-A-PEEK NEIGHBOR

DEAR SNEAK-A-PEEK: Yes. The paper belongs to your neighbors. Since they pay for the subscription, they have a right to receive it fresh off the press, not after it's been rifled through. (Don't assume they can't tell.) Ask if they mind your "borrowing" their newspaper and offer to split the cost of their subscription. It's the honorable thing to do.

DEAR ABBY: I am a Lion from the Sandusky Lions Club, in the Ohio city where the late Helen Keller first challenged Lions International to become the "Knights for the Blind."

Periodically you publish announcements of free eye care for the working poor offered early in the year by the American Optometric Association. Please make your readers aware that similar services are offered year-round in most communities of the United States, and also in many communities around the world.

Most towns or cities have a Lions Club. Each one is dedicated to providing services to further sight conservation. Most of our clients are referred by school nurses or various churches. The clients tend to be individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid and have no medical insurance.

Please let your readers know that they should contact a local Lions Club member if they know anyone in need of services for loss of sight or diabetes (the leading cause of blindness). -- JUDE THEIBERT, SANDUSKY, OHIO

DEAR JUDE: Thank you for the timely reminder that the Lions Club provides these important services. And thank you, Lions, for meeting Helen Keller's challenge.

Readers, you can assist the Lions Club in fulfilling their mission by donating your old eyeglasses. Call your local Lions Club or look for Lions Club collection barrels in libraries, malls, eyewear stores or other public places. Better yet, call 1-800-74SIGHT (747-4448) for the address of the nearest collection site.

What a wonderful gift to give during this holiday season -- the gift of sight!

P.S. The Lions Club is the largest service organization in the world, with an impressive 144,000 clubs in 185 countries. Almost a million and a half members, men and women, volunteer their time for humanitarian causes. Staggering figures, to say the least.

Abby shares her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "Abby's More Favorite Recipes." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 per booklet ($4.50 each in Canada) to: Dear Abby Cookbooklets I and II, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600