Editorial: Give to local charities

It is important to support and help the victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy, but sight should not be lost of local charities and their work to help the people of individual communities across the nation.

People should not redirect their donations, but instead perhaps divide them or double them so that no one community is being served while others are falling short of being able to adequately help local citizens.

Several charities in the Tampa Bay area have already reported significant decreases in donations. Metropolitan Ministries, an organization that helps the homeless and poor, received less than 27 percent of its monthly goal for September.

The Religious Community Services in Pinellas County collected almost $15,000 less than they did in July and August.

These organizations are quick to assure people that they do not think donations and money should not be sent to New York?s victims, but they also stress that people should not forget the needy in their own hometown communities.

“In the big picture, we have to remember that there are a lot of folks locally who have continuing needs,” said Penny Morrill, head of the RCS. People are very generous right now and hopefully that generosity will not fade.

People should spread their generosity to show that their love for their statewide neighbors is an extension of the love they feel for their own community.

Charities are asking that people remember to stay generous as the holidays approach and that they spread the donations around. Dividing a check, even 75-25 percent, would help everyone who needs it.

We should all do our part to help the community ? both nationally and locally to the best of our abilities.