|Corrigan Times - Local News
Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company
Doing charity work all year long
10.5CORRIGAN -- While char-itable giving increases towards the end of the year as important community needs are show-cased, such needs continue all year long. Unfortunately, giving tends to drop off after the holidays, leaving many or-ganizations with a shortfall of donated goods, cash and even volunteers in the new year."While it is true that part of the Christmas and holiday tra-dition is to give back to others, there are needs in our com-munity throughout the year," said Major George Hood, Na-tional Community Relations and Development Secretary for The Salvation Army. "The Salvation Army serves nearly 30 million people every year and we cannot do that without the generosity of the American public who gives back, beyond the holidays."What You Can DoWhether you volunteer or collect goods to donate, re-solve to take simple steps in 2013 to better your communi-ty. To shine a light on ways to give back, Ericka Lassiter, pro football player partner, avid volunteer and president of the non-profit Off The Field Play-ers Wives Association, shares her top three tips on how to make giving a year-long tradi-tion:Tip #1: Simple Items Make a Big Difference: Many local charities collect clothes and essentials for families, particu-larly children, all year long. From warm coats and blankets to socks, toothpaste and soap, the simplest items can make a real difference for those in need. Consider donating gen-tly used items after your an-nual spring cleaning, organize a donation drive in your neigh-borhood, or if you buy in bulk at warehouse clubs like Sam's Club, choose a few items from each trip to set aside for do-nation to your favorite local charity.Tip #2: Think Outside the Can: Food banks are always in need of cash and food do-nations throughout the year. Feeding America says that for $1, food banks can provide 8 meals to men, women and chil-dren facing hunger; $50 will provide 400 meals. Donate at www.FeedingAmerica.org or call your local food bank and ask for their "most wanted" list. Often, proteins are at the top of the list along with peanut but-ter, baby food and juice boxes. Home gardeners with bumper crops can glean their harvests and share fresh vegetables and fruits so they don't go to waste.Tip #3: Ways to Help are Closer Than You Think: Your lo-cal community center, religious institution or library most likely has programs to help those in need, so you can help as part of your regular routine. Ask if you can volunteer to serve meals to the homeless after church ser-vices, or offer to read to children at the local library. There are countless ways to lend a hand, so find one that feels right to you or visit www.volunteermatch.org for ideas."Every community will have unique needs and strengths," said Susan Koehler, Senior Manager of Community Involvement for Sam's Club. "To make the great-est impact, those wanting to give back should consider ask-ing about workplace programs that match volunteer hours, lo-cal donation guidelines or mak-ing giving back a regular family activity.