While Obama moves his fiscal chess pieces toward the inevitable cliff (or more like a boat ramp), and the sad and equally inevitable failed ideas of gun control stain newspapers and online news sites, I would like to take this moment to address America’s most generous contributors of time, talent and treasure to charities - conservatives.
Christmas is over and so are most people’s current round of charitable giving. Not because of tax purposes but because it’s no longer on our minds. We donated to food banks, homeless shelters and Lottie Moon, rang Salvation Army bells and volunteered whenever we could. Now we rest, right? Nope.
Now is the time when we need to help simply because so many others are mentally tapped out. Do you think all those turkeys and food boxes you donated before Christmas are still waiting on shelves like decorative Santas waiting to be tossed into the attic until next year?
A couple of years ago, a local Rotary Club discussed upcoming project ideas. One suggestion made was to organize a food drive in November for Thanksgiving. Many heads nodded until one member noted that food banks regularly exceed their goals during Thanksgiving and Christmas. He asked, “How about having a food drive during the summer months when no one else is doing it?” The club agreed and the recipient agencies were ecstatic with the unexpected bounty for a growing population of clients during the expanding Great Recession. This drive grew into a year-round monthly collection benefiting a rotating list of greatly relieved agencies.
In little Delaware, with a total population of about 900,000 people and a reported unemployment rate of less than 7 percent, the Food Bank’s hunger study found that 17,500 different people receive food assistance through their network each week (which does not cover every agency in the state that provides meals). That means more than 240,000 people got food from the Food Bank in just one year. Remember, the state’s population is around 900,000. And even if the study is off by 4 percent or so, it’s still a huge percentage.
The number is also evidence the media’s ever-so-favorite U-3 unemployment number representing people who have filed for unemployment claims fails to illustrate the real number of people actually unemployed or so struggling with part-time jobs that they live on the edge of bankruptcy. It’s what the Bureau of Labor Statistics called the U-6 number that reveals real national unemployment is over 14 percent. With that in mind, the Blackbaud Index of Charitable giving shows August, September and October are generally the worst months for charitable giving and January is right behind them. And why not?
Aren’t we busy starting the new year, getting tax files in order and, unlike that slob down the street who leaves icicle lights up all year, putting away Christmas decorations? Veterans groups, Goodwill, religious charities and local missions sure could use your clothing that was replaced with new stuff at Christmas and a couple of bucks to go with it.
The gift of giving continues all year, as do the battles of ideas to make this country great again.
Rick Jensen is Delaware’s Award-Winning Conservative Talk Show Host on 1150AM WDEL and 93.7FM HD3, Streaming live on WDEL.Com from 1pm – 4pm EST. Contact Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter@JensenVoiceover.