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Give aid, not just at holidays

The generosity of Portland-area residents is most apparent during the holidays. But the need to continue charitable giving won't disappear as the holidays fade.

A number of factors, including severe winter weather, are converging right now to make this a difficult time for local non-profit agencies and the vulnerable people they serve.

These immediate emergencies are being made far more serious by the declining health of Oregon's economy, which continues to see thousands more people out of work and become part of a swelling sea of human needs.

Already, this recession has dealt a harder blow to Oregon's working families than the economic downturn that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. For non-profit assistance agencies, that translates into a soaring demand for their services at a time when individuals and businesses are less financially able to make charitable donations.

Come January, Portland still will have families that lack sufficient employment, food, shelter and clothing. And in the months that follow, those needs are unlikely to diminish.

Many non-profit organizations exist to fill the human gaps that government cannot address. Those organizations deserve year-round support.

Following are just a few of the charities that assist those in need - during and after the holidays:

• Oregon Food Bank - 503-282-0555

• Snow-CAP Community Charities - 17805 S.E. Stark St., 503-674-8785, www.snowcap.org .

• Salvation Army - 503-238-GIVE (4483).

• Goodwill Industries - 503-595-1040.

• Community Action Organization in Washington County - 503-648-6646.