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Local Salvation Army units looking for volunteers to ring bells during the holiday season

John McNamara, a veteran Salvation Army bell ringer, greets a store visitor on the first day of the season at the Strack & Van Til in St. John.

There's good news and bad news as many of us continue to catch up with emails soliciting various charitable donations from #GivingTuesday.

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving has become part of an international movement to increase charitable giving during the holiday season.

It also should serve as a call to action for Hoosiers to do more.

The good news is Americans are ranked in the Charities Aid Foundation's annual World Giving Index as the fourth most generous nation in the world.

The bad news comes on a more local front.

Among the 50 states in this nation of giving, Hoosiers ranked 41st for generosity. Meanwhile, Illinois came in at 18 for charitable giving, volunteering and service.

It's not too late to improve upon these untenable statistics.

With the holidays upon us, food banks, Salvation Army kettles and so many other charities seek to be filled with the time and treasure of volunteerism and donations. These things become the difference between poor or impoverished families enjoying the season or going without.

Some of these charities are relied upon for the very survival of the people being helped.

Lake Area United Way remains among the most worthy for local donations.

It's ongoing mission to help the working poor families in our Region — folks who already are bending over backward to help themselves but unable to make ends meet or obtain traditional government aid — is among the most admirable we've seen.

The charities themselves should be pushed to adopt more innovative ways of accepting donations — methods making it easier for potential donors to give.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana uses the Spare Change 4 Kids program, allowing donors to download an app that automatically rounds up credit and debit card purchases, donating the "spare change" to the charity. It's a fantastic organization that gives hundreds of Region children a safe and productive place to turn for guidance, camaraderie, recreation and fellowship.

In the end, none of us in the Hoosier state should be pleased with a ranking well below Illinois on a charitable giving index.

The holiday season is the perfect time to show what Hoosiers are made of and give whenever and wherever we can.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Assistant Local News Editor Crista Zivanovic and Regional News Editor Sharon Ross.