Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Tis Better to Give at Holiday Time

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Tis Better to Give at Holiday Time

Article excerpt

The spirit of giving may be a little waterlogged from the summer flooding. But charities here, and the people that contribute to them, seem to think the year-end holidays are the best time to receive and to give.

"I can't pass a bucket or a kettle at Christmas season without putting something in," said Gail Moshkowsky, who was shopping at Northwest Plaza one day last week.

"If they're going to stand out in the cold and shake the bell, how can you not give?" said Moshkowsky, a University City resident and administrative assistant at St. Louis University Medical Center.

"I'm a widow now, but I give as much as I can afford at the time. I spread it around - to the United Way every two weeks at work, to an animal shelter, to cookie and candy charity things that people at the office are pushing for their children.

She called the growing number of agencies, large and small, with their hands out at Christmas "understandable. Everybody's more generous at Christmas."

Another shopper, Tina Cooksey, who has volunteered at agencies for the needy, thought it unfair to bombard the public with so many appeals at Christmas.

"It's oversaturated. The agencies really hype it around Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. You'd think nobody was going hungry other times of the year," she said.

Feed My People, an interdenominational church-run agency, feeds about 4,000 needy people a month in south St. Louis County. Its director, John DeGuire, said:

"There's no doubt the spirit of giving is strongest at Christmas, and that's why most charities put out a special effort then."

DeGuire says his agency gets at least a third of its food and money donations in the 45 to 60 days before New Year's.

Some people have a pragmatic consideration: They save on their taxes if they get in some charitable donations by Dec. 31, DeGuire said.

It was no accident that the Salvation Army Tree of Lights, Catholic Charities' Christmas Appeal and Dollar-Help Inc. all began their main fund-raising drives last week, on the eve of Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas shopping season. …

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