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Look for ways to give back this holiday season

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Retailers across the country are hoping as soon as you put down your fork and swallow the last bit of your Thanksgiving meal that you’ll put on your most comfortable shoes and head out for a day of shopping Thursday.
While holiday shopping has traditionally began the day after Thanksgiving, more and more retailers are hoping to lure you in with special deals Thursday instead of waiting for Black Friday.
With economic times as tough as they have been, we certainly would have no ill will toward anyone looking to save money this holiday season. As a matter of fact, you can plan out your shopping strategy by using this week’s Beacon’s advertisements and inserts.
But we also ask that you remember others in our community who may not have the same opportunities. With the county’s unemployment rate just less than 10 percent, there are many families here who will have to forego gifts—and possibly even warm meals this holiday season.
While you’re out in the hustle and bustle, listen for the familiar Salvation Army bells. Volunteers will be standing at retailers’ doors collecting donations. If you have spare change, drop a little in the bucket on your way in or out of a store.
Also, don’t forget there are many reputable local charities that are working to provide meals and gifts for the less fortunate this holiday season.
Jerome Munna of The Sign Shoppe and his friends with the Brunswick County Motorcycle Enthusiasts are collecting funds to take local kids shopping for Christmas next month. Since 1992, this group of volunteers has raised about $180,000 for children in need.
This year, instead of the usual motorcycle, they’re raffling a lawn tractor and trailer. You can find out more information by going to www.brunswicktoyrun.org.
The Marine Corps has collection boxes throughout the region where you can donate a new, unwrapped toy for its annual Toys for Tots campaign.
Brunswick Family Assistance provides gifts and meals for children and senior citizens during the holidays. At press time Monday there were about 35 children’s wish lists that still need to be picked up for Christmas gifts. You can get a child’s name by stopping by the BFA office at 4600-8 Main St. in Shallotte.
Organizers could also use monetary donations to help cover expenses related to the holiday meals they provide those in need, and as always, they could use help with their food pantry and other services.
These are only a few of the many charitable organizations in our community that are looking to help your friends and neighbors. Check out this week’s newspaper for details on other donation and collection drives going on in Brunswick County.
And, if you can, remember to also shop local. Small Business Saturday is Nov. 24, and local businesses would love for you to stop by and see what they have to offer.
Enjoy the kickoff to the holiday season. Stay safe and thanks for reading the Beacon.