Remember the old adage: It's better to give than to receive.
Many, if not most, charities depend on the holiday season to raise money to serve people in need, and they need help from those of us able to give as they carry out their vital work.
There's no question that the recession put a damper on charitable giving nationally. Estimates are that levels of giving are $12 billion below the 2007 level, and a national survey indicated that charitable giving would be tight this year.
Locally, some agencies are feeling the squeeze, but there's still time for them to met their goals.
The Salvation Army of Champaign County hopes to bring in $456,000 by Christmas Eve through its Red Kettle Drive but was $85,000 short earlier this week. While kettle donations are on target, the remaining few shopping days are important as is a good response to donation envelopes mailed out earlier.
The Salvation Army in Danville still needs lots of help to meet its fundraising goal for this holiday season. Contributions for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Drive are 63 percent of the way toward the $115,000 goal, with bell-ringers at 14 locations set to work through Christmas Eve. The goal is to bring in $75,000 of the total donations through the kettles, and the rest through other contributions, and as of Tuesday kettle contributions had brought in $45,000.
At the Developmental Services Center in Champaign, which serves people with developmental disabilities, the Tree of Hope campaign will run through Jan. 31, and the agency had raised just over half of its $130,000 goal — $70,000 — as of Monday. The amount raised so far is in line with last year's campaign, but DSC's goal is $5,000 higher this year, and the Tree of Hope campaign helps fill the gap left by delays in state payments, which amount to $2 million.
So don't pass by those bell ringers without dropping something in the kettle, and give what you can as the end of the year approaches to support the Salvation Army, DSC and the many other fine charitable organizations and churches that help make life in East Central Illinois a little better for people who turn to them for help. They'll thank you for it in their hearts.