News

    US Charities Face Deficit During Holiday Season

    The December holiday season in the United States is traditionally a time that many people give money to charities, but with the economic downturn in the US, surveys show that Americans are less likely to give to charities this year. The Salvation Army says that while donations are decreasing, the need for charitable services is going up.

    Lanny Green rings a bell to collect money for the Salvation Army outside a grocery store in Arlington, Virginia
    Lanny Green rings a bell to collect money for the Salvation Army outside a grocery store in Arlington, Virginia

    Multimedia

    Deborah Block

    Lanny Green stands outside this grocery store in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC.  He rings this bell to collect money for the Salvation Army, a worldwide charitable Christian organization.  The money is used to help needy people in the local community. 

    "I'm proud to do it and I feel like I'm doing something good," he said.

    Green has no job and is living in a shelter.  Many bell ringers are volunteers but others, like Green, work for a small hourly wage.

    "I was looking for work and then I found the Salvation Army, and I decided I wanted to work with them, and volunteer to try to help somebody else while helping myself," he added.

    Many Americans say they will still contribute something to charity during the holiday season.  But a poll, commissioned by the American Red Cross, indicates 20 percent of Americans plan to reduce their charitable contributions.  Green says some people apologize for not putting money into the red kettle.

    "I've had a couple of them tell me they're out of work right now, and normally they give money to the Salvation Army, but right now they just don't have it," he noted.  "And some [people] put in pennies, and I say, 'It's not how much you give. It's that you are giving it out of the bottom of your heart.'"

    Salvation Army spokesman George Hood says the demand for charitable services has grown substantially.

    "People who are our traditional donors, many have become our clients. And people who are giving have endured this very difficult 12 month period and so giving is down," he explained.

    The Salvation Army also has other programs to help those in need, including shops like this one in Virginia.  Donated items are sold to help support an adult rehabilitation center in Virginia. 

    Eritrean Hiwan Mogas says she often comes to the store.

    "The price is less for me.  Good shopping here," she said.

    Mike Vincent is head of the rehabilitation center.  He says people are donating clothing to the shop, but they are keeping expensive household goods.

    "Furniture sales have been down at least 20 percent and the reason for that is people are holding onto their furniture items due to tough economic times for them," he noted.

    The Salvation Army also helps poor people pay their utility bills.

    "Our greatest fear right now is that if we don't raise the same level of money that we did a year ago, knowing that we have to help more people in January and February when the brunt of the winter begins to take hold and hits, we're going to be really pressed to keep the utilities bills paid and the heat on in many, many homes," added George Hood.

    But there is good news in the future for the Salvation Army and other charities.  A survey by Harris Interactive, a public opinion research firm, found that nearly 75 percent of Americans plan to increase their charitable giving once the economy improves.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora