There are lots of ways to help those who struggle, says Jim Pugh, Utah Food Bank. But they all boil down to three things: Time, money or items. The latter can be food for the food bank, coats or socks for the homeless, supplies for the medical clinic. Every organization has some need.

It's not hard to get started.

If your style is hands-off, take some food to the food bank or a drop-off location. You don't even have to go near the people you're helping if you go online and purchase food through the Utah Food Bank website. And you'll spend less for particular products, since they work with manufacturers to get food at cost.

You can also stay away and make a life-altering difference, Pugh says, by contacting elected officials and asking them to support policies that take care of low-income people.

Pack a box of clothes for an organization like Big Brothers/Big Sisters or the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Donated an old car to the Kidney Foundation.

Got an hour and want to be there? Sort food at the food bank, serve dinner to the homeless or play chess at a nearby nursing home.

Two to four hours? Man the desk at a local homeless shelter or volunteer to mentor someone in one of the housing programs that help people off the streets and into their own residence.

Have five hours on a Sunday? Serve breakfast to a few hundred homeless individuals under the underpass at 500 South and 600 West in Salt Lake City.

Or sign on to help once a week or month at any number of organizations. You can teach an illiterate adult to read, read with grade-school kids at area elementary schools, help plant a community garden.

To find opportunities that fit you, call the Information and Referral line, 211. They get updated frequently on what's needed and what's not.