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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I were married a few weeks ago, and I hope you'll let me share with your readers what we did. Because we have both been married before, we didn't need any gifts from family and friends -- nor did we want a money tree.

Instead, we asked our guests to please bring nonperishable food items or a cash donation that would be given to our local food bank. A representative from the food bank was present to receive the food and donations.

Abby, the response was overwhelming! We had tables filled with food items. More than $600 in cash donations was given, and we are still receiving food and money to be forwarded to the food bank.

My husband and I feel truly blessed. God has been good to us, and we have been able to pass along those blessings to people who need help. I hope my letter will inspire others to assist their local community food banks in this unique way. -- BLESSED IN SOUTHERN OREGON

DEAR BLESSED: So do I because the need has never been greater. Here in Los Angeles, the people who run the food banks are reporting that requests for food assistance have increased by as much as 41 percent in the past year. What you and your husband did was caring and generous, and I, too, hope it will be replicated.

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