Hello everyone,

I visit my local McDonalds a few times a week for coffee.

Today for the first time i was asked if I wanted to contribute a dollar to the Ronald McDonald House and I said yes as it is a very good cause.

I wonder if their usual donations are now down due to a weak economy?



Jack Tierney writes: 

Alan, you can almost bet that contributions are down — maybe significantly. In the past week I've attended two board meetings. One at my church, another at our local Help Center. As you might expect, church contributions are down quite a bit — but that can happen for a variety of reasons. The real "tell" is reflected in the participation by those who tithe. This is an important number as those who practice it, keep it up even in hard times. When that figure drops noticeably, as it has, the most dependable sources are making less or nothing at all.

The situation at the Help Center isn't much better as many regular contributors are also church goers and their first contribution goes to the church, what's left to the Help Center. A big percentage of our money comes from big and small local businesses. That, too, has taken a hit — and despite several seasonal appeals has met with poor response.

The situation is particularly acute at this time (for all agencies like ours) because of a change in the Food Stamp payment schedule. Up until October of this year, most recipients received their electronic deposit on the first or second of the month (a major reason why Wal-Mart has revealed that the first of the month is usually their busiest (with many stores reporting their busiest hours are immediately after midnight). However, the recipients now receive their payments any time between the 1st and the 20th of the month. Since most barely scrimp by on a 30 day cycle, those who found themselves having to wait an additional week or three, flocked to our doors - and pretty much stripped us of all our stocks.

With little time, fewer dollars, and less enthusiasm, this will not be one of our better Thanksgivings (and we receive a lot of help from the local grocery stores who leave bins in prominent places for canned good and other non-perishables; the Library, Police, and Fire departments also give us a lot of help - yet things remain bleak. Generally,we dispense anywhere from 150-200 turkeys (9-12 lbs.) As of this morning we have only 71 available. So I wouldn't be at all surprised if McDonald's is experiencing smaller donations.

And after reading the Robert Reich piece that Kim submitted this morning, suggesting that 501(c)(3) charities could be run more efficiently and "equally" by governmental types like himself, I wouldn't be surprised to see usually generous individuals become reluctant to contribute to causes where the proceeds are re-directed to more "deserving" recipients.





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