With the Season of Giving in full swing, a growing consensus opines that generosity is needed more than ever, with COVID-19 destroying so many households’ economic security.
Food pantries reportedly have miles-long lines of cars around the nation, with many of the hungry needing help for the first time.
Homeless camps also are experiencing increases as many Americans struggle to pay for housing amid layoffs and furloughs.
A new report shows that Americans – particularly District residents – are stepping up. Philanthropy News Digest reported that “total donations made through June equaled 47.3 percent of total giving for all of 2019.”
Officials this week at LawnStarter, which has locations in the District, Baltimore, and Alexandria, Virginia, compared the 150 biggest U.S. cities across 12 key indicators of philanthropic behavior, from volunteering rates to the prevalence of food banks.
They found that the nation’s capital finished eighth most generous out of the 150 big cities it compared.
Minneapolis, Minn., St. Paul, Minn., Portland, Ore., Salt Lake City, Utah, Vancouver, Wash., Boston, Mass., Seattle, Wash., were the only cities to finish ahead of Washington, D.C.
Tacoma, Wash., and Baltimore rounded out the top 10.
The report also revealed that the District counted among the tops in having the most shelter beds per 100,000 residents, and among the largest share of residents who improved their neighborhoods.
Further, the city also counted among the tops in the category of residents who donate $25 or more to charity.
For those who cannot donate money, LawnStarter experts did offer suggestions on some of the ways to show generosity toward others.
“Time is often more valuable than money — volunteering, especially in the pandemic when many people have stopped their usual volunteering — is vital for many organizations,” said Alexandra Graddy-Reed, an assistant professor of Public Policy at the University of Southern California.
“Stocking food pantry shelves, giving blood, and offering your skills like sewing or writing are great examples. Sharing about organizations and their needs through social media is also a great way to help out at no cost,” Graddy-Reed concluded.
Susan A. MacManus, a Distinguished University Professor Emerita at the University of South Florida, added that residents could focus on acts of kindness.
“[Especially] to those who are lonely, forgotten, and ignored — a phone call, a card, a handwritten note, or drawing, sing songs or play music, offer to read, take a walk, share a good story, make a cake, bring a pet, offer to go to the grocery for them,” MacManus stated.
“It’s the simple things that so many people take for granted that are missing in needy people’s lives. It is also important to feature givers of all ages and from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Feature recipients filled with joy and gratitude at unexpected help from both friends and strangers,” she offered.