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Charities still need donations
LAMP Ministries, other groups waiting for Christmas help
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Who needs help?

All nonprofit organizations are still accepting donations and donors have until Dec. 31 to make a donation if they wish to have
it be used as a deduction on their 2008
income taxes.

To learn how to make a donation to LAMP Ministries, call 770-783-1272
or 678-978-0279.

Donations for the United Way of Hall County can be mailed to P.O. Box 2656, Gainesville, GA 30503.

Be cautious when giving

Before making a donation to any charity, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel offers several tips:

Be wary of telephone solicitors asking for contributions. If you are solicited by phone, ask that the individual put their request in writing and provide complete information about the charitable organization.

Never give your credit card, debit card or bank account information to a telephone solicitor.

If a tax deduction is important to you, make sure the organization has a tax-deductible status with the IRS. The IRS web site (irs.gov/charities) has a searchable database of organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.

Something shocking has happened at LAMP Ministries, Inc. They haven’t received a single monetary donation.

"Usually at the end of the year we get some donations, but this year we haven’t gotten any," said Mary Mauricio, LAMP Ministries’ executive director.

LAMP Ministries is an organization that provides shelter to troubled teens, runaways, single moms and other people who are hard to place in other shelters. Besides shelter, the organization also offers food, clothing and educational classes to residents. The length of time a person stays at the shelter depends on how long he or she is willing to help, Mauricio says.

With this year wrapping up, LAMP Ministries officials say they are concerned about how they will fare next year.

"We have a grant, but we really couldn’t make it through the year without the help of private donors," Mauricio said. "We trust in the Lord to provide, we are also definitely concerned about the lack of monetary donations."

LAMP Ministries isn’t the only local organization that is feeling the pinch from a lack of donations.

"With the current situation with the economy, from what we’ve heard a lot of nonprofits are hurting right now," said Carol Williams, the United Way of Hall County senior vice president of community impact.

Instead of heading to the mall to buy a gift for that special someone, shoppers may want to think about making a donation in a loved one’s name instead. You’ll not only be helping a charity, but also helping yourself, as such gifts can be used as tax deductions.

"When someone makes a donation as a gift for someone else, we send an acknowledgement letter to the recipient and also to the person who provided the donation," Williams said. "But we encourage everyone to find their passion and make a donation to their favorite nonprofit organizations because a lot of them are suffering from the repercussions of state budget cuts and just a lack of donations."

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