Column: Support community - give from heart

The holidays are a wonderful time of year.

Gift giving and helping others seem to come naturally, and it is a time when our hearts and checkbooks open wide. Many of us not only think of gifts for family and friends but also of making charitable donations to causes we care about.

 Charitable donations, mostly by individuals, hit $298.42 billion in 2011, still $11 billion below the 2007 high-water mark, according to a June study by the Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

The recession has certainly affected on charitable giving, not only reducing the dollars individuals have to give but also their perception or their comfort in giving. Many people are still feeling uneasy about donating and understandably so. But others know how fortunate they’ve been and how community needs continue to grow and they want to help out.

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