To Give or Not to Give? To Charity, That Is

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It's supposed to be the "Season of Giving," but some charities are struggling to meet the need this year. Nationwide, food banks and Toys-for-Tots programs are struggling with a dip in donations. that the case, in our community?

You could blame it on the economy, or you could blame it on just a lack of holiday spirit, but local charity organizers say it's not all doom and gloom.

While some donation numbers are down, they say we still have some pretty giving people in our community.

"The economy is down and you really feel sorry for a lot of people. You try to help out where you can, we always do," said Joan and Dick Tice of Incline Village.

"It's very important to give. You have to. It's God's rules. You have to share with everyone. It'll come back to you eventually," added another donor, Susan Guy.

Salvation Army buckets are still filling up with small local donations, but on a larger scale, the organization is feeling a pinch. Salvation Army paired up with the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program this year. Major Doug Williams says this means toy donations are up, but it also added about twice as many hungry families to the needy list.

"I think there's a great need out there and the increase in the number of people with needs is putting a strain on many charities," said Williams.

The St. Vincent's Center has a different story to report. Executive Director Michael Ford says the organization is right about where it was this time last year, maybe even slightly ahead...but still he says, the people it serves may get a little less than they're used to.

"We rely heavily on USDA supplemental commodity foods. It comes from the federal government through the state. Over the last two years we've seen a significant reduction in the amount of food we get from that particular source," said Ford.

Meaning, the community's donations are making up for that loss...Ford says Northern Nevadans as a whole are notably generous year after year, even when times are tough.

"It is a bad economy and we are sensitive to that. We're just hopeful that people will find value in what we do and share a little to help provide to folks who really are in need."

"I have confidence that people will come through. Nobody's going to go without Christmas. We'll figure it out somehow," said Williams.

Local charity heads are not giving up yet. As the holiday approaches, they say many people forget about the economic slump...and remember how good it feels to give. Adel Cappa says she already knows.

"To make kids have a happy Christmas."

Other organizations say they are actually thriving this year. The Northern Nevada Food Bank has actually exceeded their goal for the year by about 5,000 pounds of food. United Way representatives had similar numbers to report...they say they are on par, maybe just a little bit above average.

If you'd like to donate to a local charity, a list of charities that still need donations is listed on under the "Hot Topics" link.