Ninety-five percent of survey respondents told us they donated money around the holidays. When asked why, readers gave a variety of answers, depending on where they lived.
“Now more than any other time of the year I’m seeing folks in need,” said Connie Walsh. “I live in Minnesota, so the drop in temperatures brings special concerns. But I’ve also spent the last 25 years working with poor, marginalized folks, and at this time of the year needs soar.”
Respondents like Carolyn Capuano of Canton, Ohio, echoed these concerns. “As we head into winter in the Midwest, there are additional needs with which to assist. At Christmas, families who are poor desperately want to provide their children with something special, and our giving can assist.”
For some respondents, giving to charity is a spiritual practice. “I donate throughout the year, but I view it as a spiritual practice during Advent and Lent, a way to put Gospel values into practice,” said Lois Mills of Orlando, Fla.
When asked who they donate money to, respondents mostly named local organizations, such as those that support the homeless. One reader highlighted the importance of spending time with people who are isolated over the holidays. “We give to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul because they visit our neighbors in need in their home and determine what is really needed,” said Roger Playwin of Grosse Pointe Park, Mich. “Besides all the stuff, like furniture, appliances, clothing and food, often they need someone to just listen to their story.”