By Emily Drooby
As someone who works for Hour Children, Jeffery Smith constantly sees the importance of donations. From the non-profit’s food pantry, to their day care, to their thrift shop; the lifelong Catholic sees giving turn into an opportunity for someone in need.
“That’s really what motivates me, to be able to live the gospel, and to give expression to the gospel in what I do. It’s a great gift,” explained Smith.
The Queens based non-profit helps incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children. It’s one of over a million non-profits in the country relying on donations to stay afloat but those donations are decreasing. The percentage of Americans giving money to charity has dropped from 66 percent to 53 percent between 2000 and 2016.
“It doesn’t come as a surprise to me. I think the challenge for organizations like us, is to continue to do what we do with passion and with integrity,” said Smith.
Sister Tesa Fitzgerald who runs Hour Children says despite some drop off, they are still in good shape.
Sister Fitzgerald explained, “We are testimony to people’s goodness.”
There’s many different ways to give to Hour Children and one of those ways is through time.
“We have endless, endless amount of volunteers coming from churches, companies, school groups that really make the world of Hour Children happen,” explained Sister Fitzgerald.
The recession and a lack of extra cash among millennials are cited as two reasons for the decrease in giving.
“We are all people, everybody has a hard time everybody struggles and to be able to build other people up, why wouldn’t you do it. Why would you look at another person and say, you’re not worth your time,” said Hour Children volunteer Kaylee Konczal.
The study also points to the rise of the ‘nones’, a nickname for people with no religion. They are less likely than people of faith to give.
“Jesus said very clearly, look to the less fortunate, and not only did he say it, that’s what he did,” explained Sister Fitzgerald.
As the season of giving approaches, Sister Fitzgerald says even giving a little could mean a lot.