A Time for Giving

by Jessica Cervantez

During the season of giving, local charities really depend on your donations to help those less fortunate families have a Merry Christmas. As many charities are getting hit hard this year, and with so many charities to choose from, how do you decide who needs the most help?

The Empty Stocking Fund and Salvation Army are only two of several charities relying on your donations to make it through the holiday season.

Lisa King, with the Empty Stocking Fund, said, "We have more applications this year than we ever have before, so we set our goal at $35,000. We're actually going to need more than that because there are more applications that have come in."

Bonnie Allen, with the Salvation Army, said, "They say that need has no season, but at Christmas time, it seems like we all have a much more giving heart."

With so many deserving charities, it is impossible to give to all of them. So, how do you decide which charities get your donations?

King said, "The ones that I get involved with, either by giving money or man hours, volunteer hours, are things that are very important to me, that mean something to me. Most of the things I work with deal with children and children's issues."

When deciding where to give, it is always a good idea to find out where the money goes. One hundred percent of the Empty Stocking Fund helps the children of Nacogdoches County. Twelve percent of Salvation Army's donations go to its corporate office, but the rest stays locally.

Even if you don't have money to donate, lots of organizations are looking for volunteers.

King said, "A lot of time, we don't have the money to give to charities, but man hours are just as important as money."

Budgets remain tight in many households this holiday season, but even though times are tough, East Texans are still stepping up this year when it comes to charitable giving.

Allen said, "I say our donations are up, and I think it is because, perhaps, things are a little tougher in Angelina County. And those that still have jobs, those of us that still have our health, we feel that there are others that need more, so we're reaching a little deeper than we would in the past. The need is certainly there."