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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

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