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Economy Leads To Decline In Charitable Giving

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One of the nasty side effects of this down economy is the slump in charitable giving.

Mike Hellgren reports on the growing demand for help this holiday season and the charities’ struggle to meet it.

Big sales have whipped some shoppers into a selfish frenzy, gobbling up bargains for themselves since Thanksgiving.

“Each box has the name of a child and a number,” said Salvation Army Major Barry Corbitt, Baltimore area commander of the Salvation Army.

But while the shelves at the Salvation Army’s warehouse in Baltimore don’t look bare, they’re struggling to keep up with a growing number of requests for help while giving is down.


“Imagine the feeling of a child waking up on Christmas morning and having nothing there by way of gifts. Parents have that pressure these days,” Corbitt said.

Many of whom have never asked for help—but they’re asking now.

“No child should be left out,” Corbitt said.

While there are signs of growth in the economy, economist Anirban Basu says these days, many people are spending on their own needs, instead of others’.

“When you put it all together, the combination of pent-up demand, low-income growth and deep discounting by many retailers and low interest rates, there are a lot of ways to deflect money away from charitable giving,” Basu said.

Even though many charities are struggling to meet demand, there’s still a great sense of optimism that, as the holidays draw closer, people will make that final push to help those less fortunate.

“They do want to buy the things for themselves, the TVs, the electronic gadgets, but they also see the need. Baltimore is very generous,” Corbitt said.

The Salvation Army’s warehouse is accepting drop-off donations any night next week. To donate to the Salvation Army online, click here.

Other charities that need your help include Catholic Charities, Toys For Tots, Jewish Community Services, CASA of Baltimore and St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore.

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