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Published December 01, 2010, 10:00 PM

GF Offers Many Charities to Choose From During Holidays

It is easier to be more conscious of others during the holiday season, and many local charities want people in Grand Forks to be conscious of them.

It is easier to be more conscious of others during the holiday season, and many local charities want people in Grand Forks to be conscious of them.

The Salvation Army always has a strong need for generosity this season.

The familiar sound of a bell ringing is synonymous with tidings of good will, but it is just one of many local charitable opportunities in the Grand Forks area.

"Most people tend to think of us traditionally when we kick off campaigns in mid-September," said Pam Berger, President and CEO of the Grand Forks/East Grand Forks United Way.

The United Way spends all year trying to raise money to funnel back to needy causes in the community.

This year, the goal is $1 Million. When Christmas comes, the focus does shift a bit.

"We have Toys for Tots boxes throughout the community. You'll see them at the Grand Forks Mall and many other locations," said Berger.

She said they always have to put families on waiting lists because they have more families than donations.

They need more toys, especially toys for young boys. A child's Christmas might depend on donations.

"A lot of folks come up to us and thank us with tears in their eyes. They say, 'This is all I have for my children, they'll be so excited.' It gets you," said Berger, pointing to her heart.

Then there are the needs going beyond the Christmas season. One organization said when it comes to giving, they think outside of what can go in a gift box.

"We're welcoming people who come to the states without very many physical possessions," said Tara Dupper with Lutheran Social Services ND.

LSS ND in Grand Forks has many charities, including one helping out refugee families coming to the United States. The items they need are not hard to miss.

"We accept donations of furniture, household items, winter gear. The things you would need to set up a space," said Dupper. These things help turn houses into homes for these new families.

Like so many charities, both United Way and LSS need help, and cannot be overlooked.

"Because frankly the needs are increasing," said Berger.

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