The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


December 18, 2007

How we give

An article in Sunday’s Parade magazine contained these facts:

• Charitable donations in 2006 exceeded $295 billion—up almost $12 billion from 2005.
• 68 percent of U.S. households annually give something to charity.
• The average American donates 2.6 percent of his or her income.
• People give because they want to make the world a better place, they have compassion for the needy or have an emotional need to repay society for good fortune.
• Only about 20 percent of donors are in it for the tax break—$50 billion in giving is annually unclaimed on returns.
• 33 percent of all U.S. charitable donations go to religious groups.

A job well-done. And yet, it seems there’s a never-ending need. The Chicago Tribune’s “Perspective” section attests to this. In Illinois alone, 1.5 million people live below the poverty line (130,000 senior citizens; 543,000 children; 630,000 are white; 510,000 are black; 327,000 are Latino; 230,000 immigrants; 300,000 disabled).

The section includes seven stories of “the hidden poor” that are worth a read. The stories put a face on poverty and are a reminder that—overwhelming as it is—our work isn’t done. As Jesus said: “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).

To learn what Lutherans are doing to help, visit the ELCA World Hunger Appeal Web site.

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