Hal Slager rings the bell

Indiana House Rep. Hal Slager, R-Schererville, rings a bell in 2016 to attract Salvation Army donations outside of Crown Point's Jewel-Osco.

The stock market reached record highs in 2017.

In general, our economy has been strong, and many families, including those in the Region, have experienced prosperity. Most of us also know, however, how keenly need continues to be felt in many corners of our communities.

Though this need exists year-round, the holiday season is a time in which we often see more opportunities to give.

Anyone able to spare donations of time, money and food should consider doing so.

The red kettles of the Salvation Army are back in holiday force this year, with volunteers ringing bells and asking for generosity.

The Salvation Army helps our neighbors throughout the year but depends, in large part, on the funds brought in from the holiday kettle drives.

In Lake County alone, Salvation Army annually provides 5,000 instances of emergency assistance, including help with utility bills, rent and mortgages of neighbors in need.

Keep that in mind before ignoring the red kettle bell ringers while shopping for holiday groceries or gifts.

The Lake Area United Way, meanwhile, has adopted a new focus in recent years, channeling its programs and funding to helping the Region's working poor — folks toiling to feed families, often working multiple jobs and still not getting by.

Salvation Army and United Way are just two local organizations where gifts from people like us help folks in our own Northwest Indiana communities.

Various churches and township trustees' offices maintain food banks or soup kitchens. Donations of money and supplies to such organizations also helps.

Adams Radio Group, NIPSCO and the Salvation Army have partnered in the Spread the Warmth program this year, accepting donations for new or gently used clothing for the less fortunate through Dec. 17.

For more information on Salvation Army programs, call 219-838-0380, or visit www.salarmylakecounty.org or www.salvationarmyusa.org, and consider donating.

To donate to the Lake Area United Way's campaign to help working families who struggle to get by, visit lauw.org or call 219-923-2302.

For information on donating to the Porter County United Way, call 219-464-3583. To contribute to United Way of LaPorte County, call 219-210-3534.

Please find it in your hearts to give where you can.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editorial Page Editor Marc Chase, Editor Bob Heisse, Politics/History Editor Doug Ross and Managing Editor Erin Orr.