GIVE NOW: It’s the season for charitable...

GIVE NOW: It’s the season for charitable giving, and if you want to help, there’s a special Spirit of Giving guide on page B3 today. . . . Giving soars at the end of the year, notes Ann Kaplan of the American Assn. of Fund-Raising Counsel Trust for Philanthropy. One reason: “It’s the last chance to make a gift and take it off of your taxes.” Her group found nearly one-third of donations clumped in the last quarter. Where do the dollars go? See chart above.

GIVING SEASON: “December in the charity world is a huge month,” says David Levy of the Valley Alliance--Jewish Federation. That’s true for the Alliance, which ran its annual drive early in 1995, and for the United Way, which raises two-thirds of its money now. Levy and Greg Buesing of the Valley United Way agree: Giving is on the upswing this year. . . . United Way’s goal for the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys is $6 million to $7 million. The Alliance seeks $5.7 million.

GARAGE SALE: A hot item to give away these days is your car. So in June the Red Cross opened a North Hollywood lot for automobiles. They’ve been rolling in ever since. Selling the cars or their innards has netted $444,000. Donors get Blue Book-value tax deduction. Call 1-800-HELP-130. Tow truck pickup is free.

HAUNTED: Giving is the next- best thing to being there. That, at least, is the theory of the Meals on Wheels “Ghost” Thanksgiving Dinner sponsored by the Valley Interfaith Council. There is no fancy event to attend. Instead of squeezing into a tux or heels for a rubber chicken dinner, just send money. “It’s your spirit that’s there,” says Barry Smedberg, council director. A $50 donation equals 20 meals for a needy person.


TOYS FOR TERRIERS: ‘Tis the season to open hearts to orphans--including furry ones. . . . Not your pampered pooch, silly. Toys for Pets will collect toys for homeless animals in city shelters. All Petco stores will have barrels. Bob Pena, manager of the East Valley Shelter, says toys perk up listless animals.


Where Charity Dollars Go

1994, in billions

Religion: $58.87

Education: $16.71

Human services: $11.71

International giving: $2.21

Source: American Assn. of Fund-Raising Counsel Trust for Philanthropy