2020 has been an extremely challenging year for businesses. Many have been forced to close and even more are on life support. We’ve heard about their challenges on the news almost every week.
But did you know the virus has devastated another group of organizations? Very seldom do we hear or read about how the pandemic has affected the non-profits and charities which are such a vital part of the fabric of our society. With millions out of work, it’s no surprise that donations are down to churches, groups like the American Heart Association Association and the Red Cross. And the sad fact is that, for many of these institutions, the pandemic has exacerbated the critical need for their their services.
So, if you are among those who are lucky enough to be managing financially during the pandemic, I’m proposing a radical gift suggestion. Instead of buying that latest gadget or another shirt you don’t really need, why not give a little to your favorite charity or non-profit this season? What could be more in the spirit of Christmas than to send some money where it can do the most good?
I’m sure you have your own favorite charities, but I thought I’d share a few I think are particularly worthy of our support.
LOCAL FOOD BANKS
Besides the overcrowded hospitals, the scourge of the coronavirus is probably most apparent in the situation of what’s showing up on kitchen tables. According to a recent study 1 in 4 households have experienced food insecurity in the past few months! That means they either have no food or don’t know where their next
meal will come from.
Local and national news coverage every few days shows mile-long lines of families querying up to local food banks to get some precious food. If you’re fortunate enough to not be in this number, perhaps consider a gift to your local food bank. Below is a link to “FEEDING AMERICA,” an organization of food banks that will allow you to identify your local food bank or they will take your donation and forward it to the food pantry in your town.
THE SALVATION ARMY
The bright red kettles of the Salvation Army is almost as much a fixture of the holiday season as Christmas trees and the Jolly Old Elf himself. When I’ve had the opportunity to “man the kettle” at our local Kroger’s store, I was always sur
prised by the spontaneous generosity of passers-by. And pleased because I learned th
at the Salvation Army has one of the lowest overhead and bureaucracy costs of institutions—95% of every dollar raised goes to help needy folks—and all of the donations are used in the town or area they are collected in.
The Christmas kettle campaign is their major fund raising campaign. But, because of the effect of the pandemic (more online shopping, less traffic in stores, people carrying less money and coins) the charity is seeing donations decrease about 50% this year. In the precise year when the need for their services has increased by 55%. That’s why I feel it’s a good place to drop my coins—or in this year, write a check.
If you’re so inclined, here’s link to their site: https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/brighten-the-holidays/
ST. JUDE’S HOSPITAL
This charity does not really have a Covid connection, but has always been one of my favorites. Founded by the entertainer, Danny Thomas, the hospital is built on the premise “No child should die in the dawn of life.” And it is one of the few medical institutions in America that believes families struggling with catastrophic disease shouldn’t have to deal with crippling debt as well. For even though the hospital costs $2.8 million a day to run, no family ever receives a bill for the services for saving their child at St. Jude’s.
Here’s a link to their site. https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude.html?sc_icid=wtg-mm-btn-donate-now
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
My final suggestion is an organization that builds houses for the homeless and
downtrodden. “A decent home provides the strength, stability and independence that families need.” These are the opening words of Habitat for Humanity mission. I read recently that most American are only two paychecks away from losing their home. An in this age of the coronavirus, trying to survive on the street is not only degrading and debilitating, it could also be life threatening. Whether you’re able to contribute to any of these or your own favorite charity, I urge you to remember those less fortunate than you, especially at this time of year. It’s the Christmas thing to do.
Here is the link to donate if you feel so inclined. https://www.habitat.org/donate/?link=271&source_code=ANCW20071221000&keyword=menu-one-time
Here’s to a much better 2021!