PALM DESERT – The economic downturn is dipping into donation baskets at churches around the nation.
“I’m giving about $10 less a week,” says church member Roger Haarmeyer.
At the Church of St. Paul in the Desert, pledge money is down about 20 percent. With fewer dollars coming in, the church was forced to make cuts.
“We are taking pay cuts, reducing hours of people who work at the church,” says Father Andrew Green.
Church members are stretching every dollar, but it doesn’t go as far these days.
“I try as hard as I can to come up with the same amount of money, but it is hard,” says Haarmeyer. “Sometimes I fall behind.”
The economy isn’t the only thing affecting donations. In the past year attendance has decreased. This is partially because tourism is down in the Valley. Also, many of the snowbirds are now heading home for the summer.
However, while giving and attendance are down, demand is up.
“Not a week goes by where people are not talking about the challenges they face,” says Green.
There’s an increasing need for food and clothing.
“There are still a lot of services people need from the church,” says Green.
Although monetary giving is down, donations of personal items are up.
“Sometimes it’s easier to buy a couple extra cans at the store instead of making a special monetary donation,” says Green.
As church members help one another in these tough times, they rely on their strength to get past the weak economy.
“While we live in a world that has its ups and downs, we believe in a God who loves us abundantly,” says Green.