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As the warmth and good feelings of the holiday season fade into the new year, Americans ought to keep in mind this appropriate observation by a tired Salvation Army worker:

"Toys are nice, but hungry children can't eat toys."The point is that after the holidays are over, the public tends to forget about the Salvation Army and the other charitable organizations to which Americans donated during the Christmas season.

But the needs served by those organizations don't go away after the holidays. In fact, those needs are increasing.

The Red Cross, for example, is anything but optimistic about the immediate future following a year-end fund drive in which donations from corporations and foundations were off dramatically. Though there was an increase in contributions from individuals, they didn't offset the loss from larger contributors. Moreover, the Red Cross expects greater demands for its services.

Other charitable groups, noting a 25 percent increase in the number of people seeking help in 1991, expect at least as big an increase this year - particularly if various states follow through on plans to cut welfare appropriations.

The growing list of the needy includes not only the homeless, but also people with a roof over their heads who find it harder to buy groceries. Among them are the disabled, the elderly, the jobless.

Consequently, a gentle reminder is in order: Any charitable organization that got your donations of money or time during the holidays also needs and deserves your help the rest of the year.