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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More