Lend a helping hand this holiday season

'Tis the season for giving. And this year, the need for individuals and businesses to contribute to local charities is more pressing than ever.

Sadly, we wrote a similar message at this time last year. Unfortunately, the local, state and national economy hasn't shown much in the way of improving. Unemployment remains high in the region. Many families find themselves in no better situation than they did a year ago -- struggling to put food on the table and to provide a happy holiday.

Demand is at an all-time high at regional food banks, and requests for assistance this holiday season continue to pour in to a number of local service agencies.

But in tough economic times like these, some way and some how, people seem to be able to find a way to step up and lend a helping hand. We are confident that will again be the case this holiday season here in Polk County, which has a reputation for helping its friends and neighbors in need.

Many organizations can use your help, whether it is through contributions of goods, money, services or volunteerism. Dallas Adopt A Family Holiday Project, Dallas Food Bank, Christmas Cheer, Ella Curran Food Bank, Salvation Army, Grand Ronde Food Bank, Polk County CASA, Marion-Polk Food Share, Monmouth-Independence Community Holiday Project ... this important list goes on and on. All can use a helping hand to meet their goals of helping those in our communities with the greatest need this holiday season. We urge you to get involved in any way you can.

If those avenues are not convenient, try getting involved through your place of employment or your house of worship. Many businesses and churches work hand-in-hand with the aforementioned agencies and others in "adopting families" for the holiday. Or, on your way out of the local shopping center, contribute your loose change or a dollar or two to the Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign. Every little bit helps and quickly adds up.

And while we're thinking about it, a big thank you to all of the groups and individuals who are working so hard collecting food, clothing, toys and other items to help brighten the season for those less fortunate.

Polk County, please give whatever you can this holiday season, be it a monetary contribution, donation of goods or a service, or through volunteerism. No matter the size of your gift, it will be well received in this time of great need.


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