Donations may be up, but did you contribute to your local parish?

Editor's Column - Onward, upward


Did you know the average American donated $608 to charity last year?

Despite the COVID-19 crisis of 2020, it seems it hasn’t stopped Americans from helping each other. According to an organization called Kindness, charitable donations across the country rose 25 percent during the COVID-19 crisis. They also said 52 percent of Americans plan to donate even more in 2021 and Iowans donated an average of $623 to charity in 2020. (Way to go Iowans – up $15 more than the average American!)

Now, it didn’t say whether any of that money was political donations as 2020 was surely that, but it also didn’t say whether any of those donations were for churches.

It was pointed out the CEO of Kindness that those financially unaffected came forward to make charitable contributions, often with higher donation amounts than previous years.

According to another source, TOP Data, 74 percent of millenials made donations this year while there was a 25 percent increase in charitable contributions from December 2019 to December 2020. On top of that, 16 percent say they would donate all or part of their first $600 federal stimulus check. The study also unveiled that Gen Z donors were the second best charitable contributors at 66 percent while Gen X was right behind at 63 percent and the Boomer generation was at 54 percent – although I’d be willing to bet that locally that figure was higher.

Thus, looking out for good ol’ number one wasn’t the case last year – even with the excuse of going through the pandemic.

We found that same thing to be true right here in West Liberty. Salvation Army kettle donations, conducted and coordinated by the Rotary Club of West Liberty, were up despite the fact the kettle wasn’t even manned most of the hours desired due to COVID-19 concerns.

This was true as well for the local Christmas Box campaign put together by the Voluntary Action Committee as the West Liberty Food Pantry, Rotary coat drive, Aquarius Club toy drive and other events saw as many donations as ever before. For a town that has a high percentage of families on free school lunch programs, that’s pretty darn amazing.

So, I’d say more and more people are looking out for each other and are willing to help the poor, feed the hungry and provide for a great holiday season.

But don’t forget about the churches – many of which are still not having live services. They are all struggling to survive in these difficult times and throwing a little money at the collection plate will surely help keep the lights on for when we can all actually go back to live worship.

To be sure, it amazes me churches were closed to parishioners in the first place – even though I do understand why – because if there was one thing we really needed through this whole ordeal besides a vaccine, it was our faith. Thank goodness for virtual services through social media! Anyway, I’m just saying don’t forget your local parish when it comes to charitable contributions.

Onward, upward.

Tim Evans has been editor of the West Liberty Index since June 2019 and is a Master Columnist in Iowa. He can be contacted at 217-840-8704 or by e-mail at