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Missourians Encouraged to Open Hearts and Wallets This Holiday Season

PHOTO: The Salvation Army Serving Christian and Greene Counties is among the many charities kicking off annual holiday giving campaigns in the hopes of raising funds to support their mission through 2014. Photo courtesy of the Salvation Army.
PHOTO: The Salvation Army Serving Christian and Greene Counties is among the many charities kicking off annual holiday giving campaigns in the hopes of raising funds to support their mission through 2014. Photo courtesy of the Salvation Army.
November 25, 2013

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - This week officially starts the holiday season, and for many that means time with family, friends, and shopping for gifts. Missouri charities also hope it will mean generous donations that will help them accomplish their goals through the coming year. 'Tis the season for red kettles, bell ringers, and food and toy drives.

According to Audrey Esther, community relations director for the Salvation Army in Greene and Christian counties, the donations they receive over the next six weeks are critical for their mission.

"During this time the donations and funds received help support us throughout the entire year, not just during the holidays."

With the many giving opportunities available this time of year, experts advise that consumers do their homework, researching all charities before making donations. The website CharityNavigator.org and the Better Business Bureau both offer information on Missouri nonprofits.

Esther said she hopes that when making plans for holiday giving, Missourians will keep in mind that there are many still struggling in the state, after a year that brought natural disasters, the partial government shutdown, cuts to food assistance, and other hardships.

"We have definitely seen an increase in number in the people who are coming to our emergency food pantry, to also our daily feeding programs, and those who also are in need of shelter," she said.

In order for charity donations to be counted as tax deductions for 2013, they must be made by December 31.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO