'Giving Tuesday' reminds to donate to needy families

'Giving Tuesday' reminds to donate to needy families

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's non-profits hope "giving Tuesday" will make a lasting impact this holiday season and throughout the year for needy families throughout the state.

The idea behind Giving Tuesday is to change the focus to one of "giving" after the glut of spending. Across the country, 2,000 charities, non-profits, schools and community groups committed to doing something on Tuesday to help a non-profit. And they hope more people will follow their example.

"We serve people who are in pretty dire straights," said Catholic Community Services of Utah representative, Dennis Kelsch. "Homeless folks, people with low income, and single moms."

Kelsch helps some of Utah's neediest families get food, clothing, and other necessities at St. Paul De Vincent Resource Center in Salt Lake City.

"Giving Tuesday is great because I think it's a reminder that we all need to take care of our need, but there are a lot of others who need our help too," Kelsch said.

While he loves the idea of rallying people to donate their time, energy, and resources, he hopes the campaign will have a lasting impact.

"We need people to think of us in January, February, and March when the coat supply runs down, when the food pantry, when people aren't giving their turkeys and hams and all their holiday food," he said.

But, Utah ranks quite high nationally in voluntary charitable donations.

"Utahns are by far and away twice the national average," said The Community Foundation of Utah representative, Fraser Nelson. "They give more money than any other people in the country."

Despite the generosity, a study by the Community Foundation of Utah shows Utah non-profits saw a dramatic decrease in giving in the last four years. As a result, Nelson says 38 percent of non-profits -- mainly those serving rural and emerging minority communities -- collapsed.

Giving Tuesday is great because I think it's a reminder that we all need to take care of our need, but there are a lot of others who need our help too.

–Dennis Kelsch

"So it was an increase in demand and a decrease in giving that really hit our non-profits hard," Nelson said.

The study also shows Utahns give 10.6 percent of their income to charity, the main one being the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which Nelson says was instrumental in helping families during tougher economic times.

"But, when you take away giving to that institution, we drop to No. 50 like a stone," Nelson said.

For the needy families any little bit helps.

"Any way people can give, whether it's their own personal time and energy, whether it's some kind of goods or simply a monetary gift," Kelsch said.

Now, as always there'll be scammers trying to cash in on the "Giving Tuesday" movement. The Better Business Bureau has information on its website on how to avoid being scammed as you start generously giving to different charities this holiday season.


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