EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 27, 2012

Holiday giving is on the rise in N.H.

People are spending and giving more this holiday season.

Analysts say people spent more for holiday gifts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

New Hampshire charities contacted yesterday — on Giving Tuesday — said people are giving more, too.

“Which is good,” said Lt. Kiley Williams of the Salvation Army in Derry. “We need more.”

“We’re doing a little bit better,” said Lt. Chris Williams, her husband and colleague.

The Salvation Army isn’t alone.

“We have seen an increase in generosity already,” said Kimberly Bavaro, executive director of The Upper Room in Derry.

Retailers count on Black Friday to make their season – and bottom line – bright. It’s followed by Cyber Monday, treated as a benchmark for holiday online shopping.

Enter Giving Tuesday, charitable organizations’ response and a reminder the holiday season isn’t all about toys under the tree.

It’s also about the spirit of giving to those in need.

Charities aren’t closely watching yesterday’s numbers, but they are aware of how the season for giving is shaping up and how much people are helping this year.

“We have seen approximately a 12 percent increase in donations this year,” about $2,280, Bavaro said. Six percent of the Upper Room’s budget last year – about $19,000 – came from donations.

The family resource center provides gifts and food to families, but also education and wellness programs. The center served 13,000 families last year and is on track to serve more than 15,000 this year.

Not only are more families in need, their problems are more complicated, Bavaro said. Before, a teen may have been coping with pregnancy. Now, they might also have dropped out of school and become addicted to drugs.

“The issues people are facing are more complex,” she said.

The Salvation Army is providing help and services to about 100 families, including more than 250 children.

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