Inflation impacts holiday giving
Nonprofits see decline in donations.
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The holidays are widely known to be the season of giving back to those in need. However, the state of the economy has impacted many people’s ability to do so as they continue to struggle with inflation
To put it into perspective, in this year’s turkey drive for the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank and Faith Mission, fewer than 200 turkeys and hams were donated. Last year, the goal of 400 turkeys was actually exceeded.
Food, clothing and even gas prices have increased this year, ultimately reducing the number of donations for certain nonprofit drives compared to last year.
Michelle Kuehner, president of Personal Money Planning, said there are a few reasons for why people may be struggling more now than ever before.
“We’ve had the pandemic and people are still experiencing financial difficulties from that,” Kuehner said. “Some either had a decrease of income or a loss of income. Some may have had to take out debt to take care of those bills so they’re now in the repayment phase of that, and now to top that off you have things costing more money.”
Kuehner explained why inflation has actually occurred over the past year.
“We’ve experienced really low inflation for probably the last three decades and so what we’re experiencing now is a catch-up of that. And that’s due to a lot of different factors. We have some of the bailouts that we’ve done, some of the help during the pandemic. And when you spend money you have to repay that somehow,” Kuehner said.
Kara Nickens, CEO of the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank, said because of the state of the economy, they anticipated and prepared for the low numbers in donations this year. They prepared for some of their bigger food drives, which has kept them on track.
“We are seeing the line grow probably to the numbers that it was at the height of the pandemic. The numbers have dropped off but as people are really struggling,” Nickens said. “These are working families, these are people that we have not seen before. They’re struggling to put food on the table and gas in the tank.”
Wichita Falls Faith Mission has also seen a decrease in food donations, however, monetary donations through fundraisers have helped them balance it out. Faith Mission CEO Steve Sparks said he’s amazed at how much the community has offered to help others.
“We had one young man who saw a homeless man without any shoes, so he went to his daddy to ask if they could buy shoes for that person,” Sparks said. “His dad happens to own a shoe store here in town, so they collect all the shoes they can’t sell and give them to us, all because his son saw one homeless man on the street without any shoes.”
Both Faith Mission and the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank said another way to be able to give back during the holidays is volunteering your time at those nonprofits, but they are grateful for every single donation they have received.
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