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To give or not to give?  To bless the bell ringers or beat a hasty retreat?  At this time of year especially we all feel assailed by the many competing demands for our dollars. Shall I give here or give there?  Shall I just dump the whole stack of appeals in the recycling?  It's the dread dilemma of the season and we all face it.

A recent diary made the case for a Bah-Humbug response, but many did not agree with this approach.  Maybe it is time to stake out a little space to tell about the charities that do have meaning for us.    Where do you give?  What is the charity that you favor over all the others? Do you have more than one?  

I'll go first under the contorted mistletoe:

I mostly limit my giving to local charities that serve the community where I live.  That way I can monitor what they do and sometimes volunteer time as well as money. And that way I never have to wonder about where my money is going because I can see it spent right before my eyes.  

One of my favorites is InnVision Shelter Network which helps homeless individuals and families in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.  
Every night they house over 1,000 homeless people, many of whom are children.  Emergency housing is only the first step, however.  InnVision Shelter Network helps these families get back in the work force through intensive counseling and case management.  This may include work on life skills, financial literacy, housing and job search and intensive services to children who have been traumatized by the loss of their home.  My fondest hope, however, is that one day they will go out of business as the need for their services will have evaporated!

So what charities are meaningful to you?  Where do you like to send your spare dollars?    Or, if spare dollars are scarce, where would you like to send them?  

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