Two long-standing groups in Dallas who have helped families in need each Christmas have joined forces to help even more with gifts under trees and food on tables.

Christmas Cheer, which provides food, and Dallas Adopt-a-Family, which provides toys, will work together for the first time this year to ensure even more people in our community is cared for this holiday season.

As we sit around our Thanksgiving tables tomorrow with friends, family and community, be grateful for what you have this year, and remember there are those in need — maybe just next door.

In the Monmouth and Independence area, the Ella Curran Food Bank had a list of people waiting for food for Thanksgiving Day.

Toys for Tots is collecting gifts for children in need throughout Polk County.

The need is great, and seems to grow each year. People fall on hard times, right here in our communities. It is because of the generous nature of those who have that can help provide those that don’t with some joy through this holiday season.

If helping financially isn’t really something you can do, consider volunteering your time with an organization in need. Especially with the increase in donations generally received around this time of year, these groups could use a few more helpers to organize and distribute toys and food. Many hands make light work.

Opportunities abound to volunteer your time, including at the Polk Warming Center on Thanksgiving night. With temperatures forecast into the 20s, the warming center will be open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Friday. For more on the center, see page A11. Volunteers will also be serving a Thanksgiving meal at 7 p.m. for those who are staying the night.

Why not skip the early Black Friday sales, get into comfy clothes, grab some extra blankets and a few games, and plan to spend the night with people in need this year?

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