Charities Say They Need Financial Help Too

A downturn in the economy is not only affecting the average American, but also the charities that are supposed to help them.

Food banks, shelters, and church-related services have all expressed concerns about the decrease in donations, but increase in the number of people needing help. Non-profits helping the poor explain that Americans are forgoing food purchase in order to pay other bills, such as rent and gas for their car – both the prices of which are on the rise.

Several food bank officials across the country noted that many of their new customers are working people who cannot afford to buy groceries because of food inflation, rising fuel cost, the foreclosure crisis, and other factors.

Donna Rogers, a spokeswoman for the United Food Bank in Mesa, Ariz., said the food inflation is the worst in 20 years, according to CNN.

Macaroni and Cheese, for example, is up 44 percent compared to last year's price.

The federal Food Stamp Program added some 1.3 million people to its program this year.

The Salvation Army, one of the largest charities in the country, is also among the victims of the economy slump, saying that donations are down but needs have increased.

Melissa Temme, a spokeswoman for the Christian charity, observed that people now need help even in prosperous areas.

In particular, she said one of the Salvation Army shelters in one of the most affluent counties in Kansas recently reported it was full and had people on a waiting list. The 13-year-old shelter has never been filled before, she noted.

"Some areas had more people coming to them and other areas had the same number of people but the extent of their need increased," Temme said, according to CNN.

But in terms of a drop in religious donations, church-related charities are expected to be hit the hardest, according to the Rev. Keith Beasley, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Roanoke County, Va. Charities such as foreign missions, centers for children, and for the ill or the elderly will be significantly affected by the donation drop, he said.

"These are good causes, but the fliers keep coming in week after week," Beasley said, according to The Associated Press.

Such special offerings, he added, "are probably the first things that could go."

A Gallup poll released Sunday showed that 42 percent of American consumers say the current economic conditions are "poor," and 84 percent say they are getting worse.