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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 as great as ever.

Sadly, it seems we’ve been writing similar messages at this time for a number of years. Unfortunately, the local economy hasn’t shown much in the way of improvement. Many families find themselves in no better situation than they did a year ago — living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to put food on the table, pay their bills and to provide a happy holiday for their loved ones.

Demand continues to be at all-time highs at many regional food banks, and requests for assistance this holiday season continue to pour in to a number of Polk County community service agencies. Some groups that serve those in need have reported a drop in donations and are struggling to fulfill their goals of helping others as we approach Christmas.

But in tough 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.

With just a couple of weeks before Christmas, many organizations can use your help, whether it is through contributions of goods, money, services or volunteerism. Dallas Christmas Cheer, Dallas Adopt-a-Family Holiday Project, Dallas Food Bank, 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, your house of worship or the neighborhood school. Many businesses, churches and schools 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 or neighborhood store, 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.

Just be sure that when you contribute to a group they are legitimate so you are not the victim of fraud or a scam. Many unscrupulous individuals try and take advantage of people’s generosity and big hearts at this time of year.

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 this year.

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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