During the month of December it is easy to get caught up in a hectic rush of shopping and forget what the holiday season is all about.

The holidays, of course, are for giving -

giving to your loved ones, the less fortunate and those who could just use the help. This season while you are picking up your gifts, why not get some help with wrapping presents while giving to a good cause?

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Places such as the Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township will host groups offering gift wrapping services with proceeds going to charity. Starting Dec. 9, a group can be found in the mall's center between Beachcomber and Hallmark. But the Shore Mall is not the only mall in the region that will be providing this service.

In the Hamilton Mall until Dec. 24 volunteers for the Ruth Newman Shapiro Cancer & Heart Fund will be wrapping gifts in exchange for donations. All of the money raised will go on to benefit the cancer and heart fund, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The organization has been holding the gift wrapping fund raiser for more than 30 years.

The RNS Cancer & Heart Fund has been a staple in the area of cancer research, working with hospitals and rehabilitation organizations in the region. All of the money donated to this gift-wrapping service is going toward the RNS fund to keep its role with these organizations alive.

Money raised in the past 30 years has gone toward great innovations in cancer treatment, such as the IMRT machine. The IMRT pinpoints cancer during radiation treatment, sparing a patient exposure in surrounding healthy tissue.

For those of us who consider wrapping gifts a mild form of torture, the RNS organization will be there to help. Shirley Delitsky, the head of the RNS gift-wrapping booth, says, "It's a lot of fun. I love working with people. The guys who get involved are especially fun. You can tell when it comes to gift wrapping, most of them have no clue."

So, gentlemen, please, when you are ready to wrap your presents, put away the comics section of the newspaper and let the pros work for you while raising money for something great. When you don't have that extra hand to rip a piece of tape, or you can't find the time to get it all done, remember there are people who can help and, more importantly, there are people you can help.

The RNS Cancer & Heart Fund will be wrapping gifts nightly for a cost ranging anywhere from $1 to $10, depending on the size of the gift. And those who bring their own boxes can save some money. The wrapping station is located on the second floor in the alcove across from the food court. With a wide variety of wrapping paper, the RNS booth can cater to a variety of holiday gifts.

"Since Hanukkah is (during) the same season as Christmas, we have Hanukkah paper, as well as many general papers for December birthdays and anniversaries," Delitsky says.

From now until Dec. 24, Cumberland Mall will host the Hadassah Bat Ami Chapter during their fund raiser to help fund cancer research. The gift wrapping will take place in the mall's center court seven days a week. Although hours of operation vary, the wrapping booth is usually open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Now that the holiday rush is in full swing, slow down for a moment and remember what the season is all about. Let a volunteer at the mall give to you by wrapping your purchases, while you give to local charities for those in need.


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