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Sagging economy puts Americans' charitable giving to the test
CHARITABLE GIVING in the United States topped $300 billion for the first time in 2007, a 1 percent increase over the year before. But the real test of Americans' commitment to the less fortunate may well be 2008, as family budgets are squeezed by rising food and energy costs and other economic pressures.
Nonprofit and charitable organizations know that when the economy slows, need increases and donations dwindle. But there are ways to continue helping the less fortunate when times are tough, and here are some of them:
Focus your giving on necessities like food, shelter, and clothing.
If you can't afford to give much, set aside your pocket change at the end of the day and donate a month's worth.
Donate clothing, toys, and other items you no longer need or use to organizations such as Goodwill or The Salvation Army.
Donate your time, certainly a scarce commodity these days.
Take a portion of that stimulus check you received from Uncle Sam and use it to stimulate someone else's day.
Americans live in the wealthiest nation in the world, but millions are still homeless and hungry. The number only increases when the economy slows. That's a challenge for the rest of us to dig deeper to help one another.