A down economy hits Hattiesburg charities hard

By Karrie Leggett – email | bio

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -  Around the country charities are taking a big hit from the recession, and locally they are being hit even harder.

Donations to the nation's largest charities dropped 11 percent overall last year. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, that is the worst decline in 20 years.

Locally, Joshua Joachim of the Red Cross said that number is even worse, and as the donations become smaller and fewer the need from families grow.

"As an organization in our region we are about 20 percent down for public contributions," he said. "People are calling in needing more help."

"We are seeing an increase in single family and multi-family house fires as well as other types of disasters, such as tornadoes in Mississippi that we are having to respond to. We are doing everything that we can as an organization to give our services and tell our stories out there about what we are doing in the community, so people will know how to support the American red cross and what it does when you actually support it," said Joachim.

Joachim says one way they hope to help families despite low donations is starting programs like a friend to fire family, which will help those effected by house fires.

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