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Holiday Push On For Charity Donations

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Charitable organizations are making their traditional push for donations as the year comes to a close.

Daniel Borochoff of the independent watchdog group CharityWatch said charitable giving is up a bit this year among people with higher incomes, especially in giving stocks. He said that’s usually reflective of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, which was up 4% last quarter. Usually, charitable giving is about 2% of that, according to Borochoff.

The Salvation Army says donations to its Red Kettle effort are down slightly from last year, in large part because there’s one fewer week between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That hasn’t slowed gold coin donations, however. Melanie Scofield said the 24th gold coin of the year was dropped in a Salvation Army kettle in Arlington Heights. It was a $10 gold piece that dates back to 1898, and is worth about $750.

Scofield said donations are down about 4% from last year at this time, but she attributes that to there being a shorter time this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Meanwhile, the Greater Chicago Food Depository said food donations are up this year, but money donations are lagging. Spokesman Bob Dolgan said the GCFD has set a goal of getting 1 million pounds of food donated this year. That compares to half that amount last year.

On the financial side, for the first six months of the Food Depository’s fiscal year, the GCFD is about $2 million behind its half-year projection, Dolgan said. The GCFD set a financial donation goal of $22.5 million this year, when it received nearly $1 million more than that last year.

“We’re crossing our fingers, holding our breath and hoping to get there. We need as many people to give as possible right now,” Dolgan said.