.- A recent survey conducted by Catholic Charities USA has revealed that the greatest needs of the clients of local Catholic charities during this Christmas season are for financial assistance, food, and housing. "The sad reality is that more and more people are turning to Catholic Charities for help because they simply don't earn enough to provide for their basic needs," said Thomas A. DeStefano, president of Catholic Charities USA.
Of the 86 charities surveyed, 57% said that meeting people’s needs this season will be more difficult than in previous years. The report said that 74% of the charities surveyed pointed out that there are more people in situations of need this year.
Fifty-five percent of the charities also said that the economy is an influential factor and 41% say that cuts in government funding has made it more difficult to meet their clients’ needs. The biggest needs are for financial assistance (78%), food (51%) and housing (47%).
"While some funding streams, such as donations, have rebounded from previous years or have remained stable, revenue sources are not keeping pace with an ever-increasing need for services and the costs of providing those services," said DeStefano.
Nine out of ten agencies reported that they need more donations to meet the demands, and three quarters believe that they will not receive enough, while 22% anticipate shortages in food. The report also suggest that there has been a 70% increase in requests for food in 2004.
Seventy-seven percent of the charities surveyed also reported that more families are asking for help and that 63% more seniors have sought aid.
"These survey results are a stark reminder that poverty never takes a holiday," said DeStefano "We hope that people will take a moment from their busy holiday preparations to think of those who have no food, no home, and often little hope."