Thursday, May 29, 2008

Remember Local Social Services When Times Are Tough.

When disaster strikes, Americans show their compassion and generosity whether her in the US or in far flung places. I am always humbled by the number of people who mobilize around a cause. The recent earth quakes in China and the Cyclones in Myanmar are just two of the most recent. Hurricane Katrina and 911 were US disasters that spurred Americans into action. But this generosity comes at a cost. Many people will forgo their regular contributions to local charities and take that money to donate it to an immediate need.

In have worked for local non-profits for some time now and I can tell you that these disasters have had a direct negative impact on them. Local charities depend on grants and donations in order to survive. So many people responded generously to Hurricane Katrina relief and found that they could not then turn around and make their annual donation to a local nonprofit. The timing was the worst possible scenario. So close to the Christmas Holiday season when nonprofits can depend on end of year donations that never came. The end result? Social service agencies had to lay off workers, close programs and cut back to bare bones minimums in order to provide something to the city's neediest.

Now with the economy being so bad, I am wondering how they are fairing. (I was one of the laid off so I don't know what's happening directly) It must be pretty bad when the news is reporting an increase in the number of families relying on food pantries and soup kitchens to make ends meet.

So imagine what I am thinking this morning when I read a report written by Tom Borgerding at WOSU news that Holy Family has lost $90,000 worth of that precious food because metal thieves have stolen the compressors to their walk in refrigeration units. It's bad enough that we have all these competing needs and there just isn't enough expendable income to go around and ensure our local social services stay afloat. But seriously!