Local News

Local Charities Hope Election Promises Lead to Donations

Posted July 22, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Providing free help to people in need takes money, and the money to provide such services has to come from somewhere: either charities or the government.

For seven years, William Taylor was homeless. While the government helped, it took a religious organization to help him turn his life around.

"Their people are a lot friendlier and they seem to understand your problem and your needs at the time because you only need to keep them temporarily," he says.

Faith-based organizations like Hope Station in Wilson are busier than they have been in decades, mostly because of former welfare recipients who need temporary help.

Politicians are taking notice. Presidential hopefuls, Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George Bush, want more grant money for charities.

Bush is also pushing for donor tax breaks. Charities say they depend on donations and this can only help.

"With welfare reform and things, we've just had an increase in the number of people that come through here and need our help. Without the funding and without the incentive to give, we're dead in the water," says Stacy Van Buskirk, Hope Station director.

Father Phil Byrum of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church says his church's soup kitchen could put the money to use, but hopes the government won't throw red tape in with the funds.

"I tend to be a little cautious," he says. "I'm not particularly interested in being besieged with government or bureaucratic paperwork at the expense of meeting human need."

The ideas are just campaign promises for now -- promises that charities will look for once the election is over.

Charity leaders say they are glad the topic of donations is in the public eye. They say publicity reminds people to give more often.