News / USA

US Charities Grapple With More Need, Fewer Donations

Charities feel the squeeze by the financial downturn, especially during this holiday season

Multimedia

Mike Osborne

After submitting their holiday requests, families pick up presents and necessities from the Angel Tree warehouse. Tia McCoy asked for basic necessities for her son and daughter.
After submitting their holiday requests, families pick up presents and necessities from the Angel Tree warehouse. Tia McCoy asked for basic necessities for her son and daughter.

There's been a steady stream of people filing in and out of this warehouse in downtown Nashville, Tennessee all morning. They are here to pick up Christmas presents for their children, presents they cannot afford to buy themselves. The Salvation Army charity provides the gifts for free through its Angel Tree program.

Maj. Rob Vincent, the area commander, says he's seeing new faces this year. "For the first time in their lives for some, they've had to look for help. They've had to make some hard decisions - making sure the bills were paid - so Christmas is going to have to be small or non-existent this year."

Much-needed help

Tia McCoy and her family of four are facing some of those hard choices. McCoy's husband lost his construction job two years ago when the market for new homes plummeted.

"We've been so behind on the bills, and sometimes it's hard just to have enough food in the house. If it wasn't for the Angel Tree and the people that volunteer their time here - they don't get paid for this - and it's because of them that our babies are going to have have a Christmas," says McCoy, who adds it will be a very practical Christmas. While Angel Tree provides some toys, it concentrates more on the things children need most. ""For my daughter, I asked for diapers, some wipes, just basic necessities. For my son, I asked for a new pair of shoes, a new coat and maybe some learning toys."

A warehouse filled with more than 12,000 presents means the McCoy children will not be the only ones with presents under the tree on Christmas morning. But the recession has had an impact on charitable donations, which leaves the Salvation Army struggling to meet the increased demand for charitable services.

Maj. Vincent says the Nashville Command used to get just 500 calls a month for help. "That number spiked to over 5,000 a month at times, during the hardest times, but it's leveled off. We get about 2,000 to 2,400 calls every month now - for almost three years - of people asking for help because they're struggling."

Lean times

Charities nationwide are facing similar circumstances. They're grappling with increased need coupled with the downturn in contributions.

"Nationally, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, giving last year was down 11 percent," says Lewis Lavine, president of Tennessee's Center for Non-Profit Management. "In Nashville, for example, most of the social service agencies have seen their budgets reduced by 10 to 20 percent. So what that means is that they've cut back to their core mission. Some have reduced staff, some have reduced benefits. All have tried to provide the level of services that they can, but it's been a struggle for them."

Maj. Vincent and Tia McCoy agree that one of those core missions is to simply remind struggling Americans that they're not alone.

"Letting them know that the community is caring about where they are and what they're going through right now," says Vincent, "providing hope to these families on this holiday season."

"There's always hope," adds McCoy. "Even when we've been at our lowest, there's always been hope."

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs