Charities Have Growing Need For Donations Amid Pandemic

Dec 2, 2020, 3:41 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Where there’s a need, there’s an opportunity to give and in a year without all of the usual drives and charity events, there were plenty of opportunities to help on Giving Tuesday.

“This year definitely has been challenging,” said Kirsten Stuart, a volunteer partner for communications at the American Red Cross in Utah.

“The need for blood doesn’t go away during the holiday season,” she said. “Even in a best-case scenario, the blood drives go down due to cold and flu season. Winter weather, people not wanting to get out. And then you add COVID-19 to it.”

The Red Cross is asking for donations of blood, time, and money through the holiday season.  They’re collecting convalescent plasma for hospitals that have seen demand jump by 250%. 

The Red Cross is just one of many organizations that have seen a growing need for donations during the pandemic.

“2020 has been like no other year the food bank has ever, ever seen,” said Ginette Bott, president and CEO of Utah Food Bank.

The Utah Food Bank typically sends two million pounds of food each month to more than 200 food pantries across the state. Last Spring that amount tripled to six million pounds a month.

“One of the saddest things that we’ve watched here is that so many people were first time users of these types of services,” she said.

Bott said 40% of those getting food have never had to ask for help to feed their families before. “This is a crucial time. Our kids shouldn’t go hungry,” she said.

National groups like the non-profit Icing Smiles offer dream cakes to critically ill children.

“The goal is really providing them with a temporary escape because they’re going through a lot,” said Tracy Quisenberry with Icing Smiles.  

Recently organizers worry about having enough cash donations and volunteers to meet a growing amount of requests for cakes and smiles.

“The bakeries are either closed or if they are open, they don’t have the ability to donate the way they used to,” Quisenberry said.

According to CNN, executives from the independent sector predict as many as one-third of non-profits will have to close or merge before the economy recovers.


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Charities Have Growing Need For Donations Amid Pandemic