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Let the season of giving start now

November 5, 2012
Estherville Daily News

Yeah, we know. It's election day. And everyone's preoccupied about who's going to be our next leaders.

If you'd like to take your mind off all that, though, this would be a good time to start thinking about whom we'll be helping this holiday season.

Yes, the time is here - a time of bells ringing at kettles and people greeting you at storefronts, asking for help. This is also the time when you get cards and letters in the mail asking for donations. It's almost a little overwhelming, isn't it?

It doesn't have to be, though. Not if we prioritize our giving according to a number of criteria.

First of all, is the organization legitimate. This should be pretty easy to determine, since any nonprofit or other group that doesn't deal squarely with the public will have a bunch of stories written about it online. If you're still in doubt, do some checking yourself, or check on the organization's Better Business Bureau rating.

Second, prioritize according to your own interests. Are you interested in helping veterans or our troops overseas? If so, there are plenty of organizations that deserve help. Check with your county veterans service office or your local National Guard family readiness group to see how you can help.

Finally, and probably most important for a lot of us, prioritize according to what you can afford. Obviously, you don't want to donate all kinds of money to some organization when it would dampen your holidays. Budget your giving according to what you can afford. And don't let some organization rope you into feeling guilty about not giving more than what you gave last year. Look at it this way - shouldn't they feel lucky to get anything at all?

Locally, of course, we have lots of great seasonal causes. The Estherville Area Ministerial Association's Community Christmas Project and the Emmet County food pantry are a couple that come immediately to mind.

So give what you can afford, and give in the spirit of helping others.

You'll feel all the better for it.



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