Dear Readers: With the holidays upon us and many Americans facing hardship from the devastating effects of the pandemic, now is the time to help those in need by donating to your city’s food bank.

The most wanted items that food banks are looking for include canned goods such as vegetables, beans, chili, soups, tuna and chicken. They also need cereal, rice, pasta, boxed macaroni and cheese, complete boxed meals, baby food, powdered milk, applesauce, bags of potatoes or apples and juice boxes.

In other words, foods that have a long shelf life.

Personal hygiene products and toiletries such as toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc., are also in demand.

You can get into the spirit of giving by organizing a food drive at church or school using the COVID-19 safety protocols of mask-wearing, social distancing and frequent handwashing.

Cash donations are always appreciated, too. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: When I look up information on a website, I always perform two searches. Sometimes different information comes up the second time. It’s worth those extra few seconds. — Terri in Indiana


Dear Heloise: If a person has a gas dryer, I would not recommend drying the plastic liner for the shower curtain in the dryer. That first blast of hot air will cause the plastic to shrivel and could cause a fire. I hang mine up outside on the porch. -- Rita in Connecticut


Dear Readers: Are you thinking about buying a home? Mortgage rates are low and home sales are up in most areas.

Here are some terms and definitions you should become familiar with:

Contingent: An offer from the buyer has been accepted by the seller, but, if the house doesn’t pass inspection, or if the buyer can’t get a loan, the deal can fall through.

Pending: The seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, the contingencies have been met, but the seller could continue to show the property and take other offers as a backup plan.

A buyer can hold out hope on a property if it’s listed as pending. Let the realtor know you’re interested.

Under Contract: The seller has accepted an offer, but the sale is not yet final. The buyer must secure financing, complete the home inspection process and other conditions that the buyer and seller have set forth.

A contract can still dissolve, so the seller may be taking backup offers, especially a generous one or one with more favorable terms.

Knowing these terms will help you understand the home-buying process, hopefully making it easier and less stressful. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: Somebody hung a sign in the copier room with the following admonitions and Do’s and Dont’s:


  • Restock the paper when necessary.
  • Recycle unused or extra papers.
  • Ask for help if needed.
  • Speak with love and kindness to the machine (gets a laugh from the staff).


  • Ignore technical difficulties.
  • Start a job and walk away.
  • Leave your originals behind.
  • Love your column. — Becky in Texas


Dear Heloise: Your hair’s thickness refers to how thick each individual strand is. Your hair’s density refers to how many hairs you have on your head. People get these terms confused. — F.D., via email

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

©2020 by King Features Syndicate Inc.

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