Our Opinion: Giving and receiving face challenges

Giving and receiving become prominent during December.

Recent circumstances, however, have challenged the ability of a number of local agencies involved in giving.

A news story Friday focused on the area American Red Cross chapter’s efforts to assist families victimized by fires. Those families may suffer the loss of belongings, homes and, at the worst, loved ones.

Within the 12-county area served by the organization’s Capital Area Chapter, fires have displaced multiple families, including about a dozen families uprooted by Monday’s fire at Cedar Brook Apartments.

The chapter’s ability to give assistance, however, depends on the donations it receives.

“This season we’re hit very hard,” said Phillip Iman, the chapter’s emergency services director, “and, unfortunately, giving is down because everyone is affected by the economy and we are constantly in need of funding.”

Also experiencing an inequity between contributions received and assistance given is the Jefferson City Salvation Army, the subject of another Friday news story.

Maj. Kendall Mathews, regional coordinator for Mid-Missouri, said combined Red Kettle collections and mailed donations are $18,000 below last year’s tally at this time. He also noted participation is lagging in the Angel Tree program to buy gifts for needy children.

Mathews acknowledged economic concerns, but added: “If you can’t give say, $20, like you did last year, give what you can afford. We’re not asking people to go above and beyond; just do what you can.”

These agencies, both United Way members, are among many organizations, churches, businesses, employee groups and individuals attempting to help others in the community.

Many charitable efforts take place year round, but often intensify as Christmas and winter weather approach.

Our community traditionally has been generous — during both good times and bad.

Any additional gift you can bestow certainly will be graciously received and much appreciated.

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