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NC charities still in need despite uptick in donations

Posted November 24, 2015

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— The North Carolina Charitable Giving Report released Tuesday shows nonprofits across the state raised twice as much money in the last year than the year before. But according to Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, there is a catch.

Several large political and economic development groups were included in the monetary total for the first time, Marshall said. The added groups account for most of the increase in giving.

While most traditional charities saw a "small but meaningful" increase in donations over the past year, Marshall said, they're still outpaced by growing need.

"Just because you hear that donations are up overall, please don't take that to mean worthy organizations no longer need your help. That is simply not true," Marshall said."North Carolina still has a growing population. We have many people and families in need – even in crisis."

Meals on Wheels of Wake County sees that need every day. The organization's charitable donations increase in 2015, but the senior population also continues to grow through aging and in-migration.

Teda Tucker relies on Meals on Wheels for a hot lunch and companionship. Every day, she makes her way to the Five Points senior center

"All of the people are nice," Tucker said. "I don't have to cook. It's too much trouble, all the cooking at home."

Tucker, 88, said she doesn't cook much at home, because she's afraid she'll forget to turn off the stove off. She doesn't feel safe leaving the house by herself, either, so she spends a lot of time at home behind her locked door.

"You see people walking up and down the street all the time," she said. "You don't know who the good guys are and the bad guys are."

But every day at lunch at Five Points, she has about 50 friends - and she's very thankful for them.

"I think it's important for a lot of the people here," she said. "You can tell that they need it. They need a meal."

Five Points is one of eight lunch rooms run by Meals on Wheels of Wake County. The charity serves 1,342 meals a day.

Director Alan Winstead said donations are up 10 percent, but demand is growing even faster.

"We have 213 people who are on a waiting list," he said. "We have the volunteers, we have the capacity to produce the meals, we just need additional funding to pay for the meals."

Tucker has noticed more people coming to lunch, too. Many are disabled, or ill, or simply lonely.

"They all need help," Tucker said. "We all need help one way or the other."

Marshall urges those interested in giving to always research a charity before donating.

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