Helping out

IT is an age when the ``looking-out-for-No. 1'' theme still surfaces all too frequently in conversations and best-selling office advice manuals. Thus news from a recent Gallup poll that many more Americans now share their time and energy to help others than did a decade ago is particularly welcome. The latest poll shows a solid 36 percent now volunteer their time in charitable giving, compared with 27 percent in 1977.

Over the years, however, Gallup has found that those most prone to lend a helping hand tend to be over 50 years old, church members, and college-educated. Although more women than men are traditionally among the givers, the percentage of male volunteers is up 10 percent in the last decade. Consistently the South and West have had the highest proportion of volunteers.

We can only hope that the level of involvement increases as impressively in the East and Midwest as in other regions in years to come and that more young people lend a hand as they realize that giving is a two-way street -- the benefit is mutual.

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