Charities Hopeful Utahns Will Give

Charities Hopeful Utahns Will Give

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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingUtah charities are gearing up for the holiday giving season. They may be especially dependant on holiday donations this year with so many people having given to hurricane relief efforts.

A significant portion of the YMCA's budget comes from holiday giving, just like many non-profit organizations. But a national survey showed 80-percent of charities believe this year's hurricanes will cause year-end contributions to either stay the same or decrease from last year.

Volunteers with the Crossroads Urban Center were busy handing out 3600 turkeys today to families in need across the Wasatch Front. It's an important part of the center's work, but it's also just one of the services they provide.

Glenn Bailey, Executive Director, Crossroads Urban Center: "We help people with three days of emergency food when they're without food."

Each year Crossroads depends on end-of-year giving to fund its programs. Add that to the fact many people already donated to hurricane relief this year, and it can cause some worry.

Glenn Bailey: "It's always something you have to be concerned about because there are really only so many charitable dollars to go around."

Other charities are also acutely aware of the "Katrina Effect." The Salvation Army just started its Kettle Campaign. Those donations are slightly ahead of last year, but mail-in contributions are down. The hurricane may have affected that giving.

Cpt. James Sullivan, Salvation Army: "We're afraid it may have, because those who gave significantly may not be thinking of us in the holidays, but we're optimistic."

All of the charities we talked to reflected that optimism, saying Utahns have a tradition of giving.

Carrie Romano, YWCA: "We're hoping that's once again the case this year, and that people will step forward to support women and children who come to us for help."

The YWCA sees families every day who have faced tragic domestic violence situations.

Carrie Romano: "Unfortunately, family violence doesn't stop when natural disasters occur."

And they hope the giving won't either.

The Salvation Army also helped with disaster relief, so it's hoping donors will keep them in mind for their everyday programs.

And the Crossroads Urban Center says its thrift store received extra donations around the time of the hurricane because the Gulf Coast couldn't take all the clothing.

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