News / USA

US Charity Donations Rebound

Yet some philanthropic groups are still feeling the pinch

Despite the economic downturn, donations grew 26 percent at the Arlington Food Assistance Center as compared to 2009.
Despite the economic downturn, donations grew 26 percent at the Arlington Food Assistance Center as compared to 2009.

Multimedia

Audio
Chris Simkins

Despite a sluggish economy, charitable giving by American people and companies rose more than 6.5 percent last year from 2009.

A study, by the research group Atlas of Giving, suggests the growth in giving was fueled primarily by a robust stock-market performance and greater awareness of people facing tough times because of the economy.

Increased donations

Each week an Arlington, Virginia food bank delivers donated goods to a senior citizens residential building.  Without the the items such as canned food, dairy products and frozen meats, many on fixed incomes would be forced to go without or sacrifice other things.

"Well a lot of people have to pay for medicine and different small items, but with this here that helps them be able to keep a little more as far as carrying them through the month," says Mary Lanier, as she fills a bag with donated food.

Without donations from individuals and corporations the Arlington Food Assistance Center would be unable to get food into the hands of about 3,000 people who need it. Despite the economic downturn, donations here grew 26 percent over 2009 and more than a million dollars was raised last year.

"Arlington County residents have traditionally been very generous with AFAC and I think they are coming out of this recession earlier than most, and are willing to give back to their fellow neighbor," says Charles Meng, executive director of the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Donors like Alois Michalak are among those giving back to their fellow neighbor. "Over the past four years, my wife and I have donated more and more each and every year so I do expect that to continue to happen."

Feeling the pinch

However, some charities in the Washington D.C. area are still feeling the squeeze.  

While nationwide donations to the Salvation Army rose two percent to $142 million last year, its largest fundraising drive in the Washington area, the Red Kettle campaign, fell 25 percent below its goal during the Christmas giving season.  

"With the amount of people out of work and losing their homes to foreclosures our donors have begun to get hit by that," says Steve Morris, head of The Salvation Army's Washington-area operations. "So we not only saw a decrease in the amount of gifts, but a decrease in the gifts themselves."

During the past several years the organization has also seen a decline in donations from corporations and local businesses. As a result, Morris says The Salvation Army is re-evaluating its resources to avoid possible cuts to programs in Washington and about 3,000 other U.S. communities.

"We are going to have to tighten our belts some in the coming months, frankly," says Morris. "Our commitment is not to diminish services. In fact in this economy we need to be increasing the amount of services we can provide so that is the challenge that we find locally, and I think nationally as well."

The Salvation Army's thrift store saw fewer donations last year, leaving more room on the sales floor and in the warehouse than usual.
The Salvation Army's thrift store saw fewer donations last year, leaving more room on the sales floor and in the warehouse than usual.

Empty shelves

The Salvation Army's thrift store is another place that saw fewer donations last year. The store sells donated items to raise money for charity work, but there are now less items for shoppers.

"The easiest way to tell that our donations are down is by our (sales) floor," says store manager Lonnie Hamilton. "You can look around and see we have a lot of space on the floor."

In the store's warehouse, areas that were once filled with furniture and clothes are now empty. Salvation Army officials say during hard times people tend  to hang on to old items longer.  

In order for things to improve the store needs more donors like Dawson Williams, who arrives to drop off some items.  

"We have a bad recession and there are plenty of people that need items, and we are fortunate that the childrens' clothes we have are lightly used, and hopefully there is another family that has young children that can put them to good use," says Williams.

Some charitable organizations say they are optimistic donations will pick back up this year. Officials say if not they will make do, and maybe scale back programs that help people in need.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease 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.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid