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Our view: Open your hearts and wallets

As the final few days until Christmas pass by and you are picking up a few last-minute gifts, we ask that you remember your less-fortunate neighbors.

Several local organizations are in the last days of their fundraising campaigns, and many are struggling to meet goals.

The United Way of Greater McHenry County campaign started in September and aims to raise $1.6 million by the end of its fiscal year, June 30. As of Thursday, donations were at just over $400,000.

The United Way provides funding to 38 programs through 23 agencies, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, CASA, Child Advocacy Center, Faith in Action, Family Health Partnership Clinic, Home of the Sparrow, Pioneer Center for Human Services, The Salvation Army and Turning Point.

The McHenry County Salvation Army is $18,000 behind in its Red Kettle campaign, Maj. Garry Lowder said Thursday. The campaign, a volunteer program where individuals ring bells and take donations outside of grocery and retail stores, results in 80 percent of the organization’s public support.

The bell ringing portion of the Red Kettle campaign stops Dec. 24, but Lowder said donations through the mail and other sources will be accepted until Jan. 15. The overall goal is $400,000.

And Woodstock Rotary Club’s Christmas Clearing House is still working to hit its $46,000 fundraising goal for next year; earlier this week, the group was thousands of dollars behind. The clearinghouse provides food and toys to families in need during the holidays.

The club raised just under $9,000 this year by asking for donations around Thanksgiving outside of local businesses. It also solicits donations by appeal letters to business owners.

If you have any doubt about the need in McHenry County, think about this: On Tuesday, about 350 local residents waited in line — some for more than two hours — to get food from a mobile unit of the Northern Illinois Food Bank so they would have food for the holidays.

Times are tough for many residents, and if you are one of them, we hope you are receiving the support you need.

But if you can, please consider giving to one of the many worthwhile causes in the county that exist to lend a hand to those less fortunate.

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