Our view: Open your heart, your pocketbook, your closet - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Our view: Open your heart, your pocketbook, your closet

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Posted: Sunday, December 4, 2011 9:25 am | Updated: 12:00 pm, Tue Dec 6, 2011.

It is great news that the holiday shopping season is off to a roaring start and that consumers seem to have enough confidence that they are spending more and spending early for Christmas. We just hope that all of us can remember what Christmas is really about in the midst of a much needed mood of shopping optimism.

This is the season to assist those that are less fortunate. It is a time to give cash, give time or give stuff. It is a time to give hope.

Organizations like Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army and Phoenix

Rescue Mission are examples of avenues for you to help during the hol-

iday season.

The Salvation Army has several locations in the East Valley, including Mesa, Chandler and Tempe. Learn more by going on the web to http://www.salvationarmyusa.org.

Toys for Tots needs no introduction but you can learn more at http://www.toysfortots.org. It has been around a long time and tens of thousands of children across the country have smiled on Christmas because of Toys for Tots.

The Phoenix Rescue Mission has been providing shelter and food

for the homeless and needy since 1952. It says it serves more than

5,600 meals a week to those that are needy. Visit http://www.phoenixrescuemission.org to learn more.

Giving cash is a great way to help these organizations fulfill their important missions. But if you don't have extra cash then you can consider looking through your closets and garage for "gently-used" donations of clothing and other items.

Some of these organizations and those like St. Vincent de Paul and

Goodwill are able to take such items and see that they benefit the less

privileged during the holidays. But it helps to know what to give. As

Goodwill's website suggests, "One man's junk is another man's treasure ... mostly." Examples of items such organizations can use: automobiles, books, clothing, computers, cooking accessories, electronics, furniture, glass and housewares, handbags, jewelry, linens, musical instruments, shoes, sports equipment, televisions, tools

and toys.

Examples of what they can't utilize: auto parts, tires, building materials and, of course, hazardous materials. To learn more, check out http://www.stvincentdepaul.net and/or http://www. goodwillaz.org.

These are obviously not the only organizations doing important and

worthwhile work to help others. Most of them are helping all year long and not just during the holidays. Get involved - even if it is giving your time as a volunteer. In fact, volunteers often go a lot further than dollars in helping others.

It is a wonderful time to reflect on how lucky we are to be able to be generous with gifts for members of our family and our friends. It is what makes the holiday so special.

We suggest doing something special for someone beyond family and

friends. These organizations - and many others that help others - can

help you do that.

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