H. C. Sonny Covington @ I CAN! America Lafayette - New Iberia, LA 70563-1722 (318) 364-6239 Fax 318-367-9141 November 25, 1997, Americans Open Their Hearts and Wallets to Charities During the Holidays Seventy-one percent of Americans make cash or gift donations to charities and the needy during the holiday season, according to a recent Maritz AmeriPoll(R). The national poll of 1,006 adult men and women also indicates that rates of charitable giving increase with age: 61% of people age 18-34, 76% of people age 35-54, and 79% of people age 55 and older donate money or merchandise to charities. "The average American is a caring soul," says Lt. Colonel Gordon Spicer of The Salvation Army in St. Louis. "When they make contributions to organizations like ours, their gifts fulfill two needs - those of the less fortunate, as well as their own need to feel that they're making a contribution and improving their communities." ST. LOUIS, Nov. 25 The average donation Americans will make to charities this holiday season is $54. Men have the biggest hearts (and wallets), giving an average of $63, while women give $45. Twenty-eight percent of all Americans will give $20 or less, 35% from $20-50, 15% between $50-100, and 13 % more than $100. Men are more than twice as likely as women to donate more than $150 to the needy. Charitable giving rates and levels also rise with incomes: * 68% with incomes between $15,000-$35,000 donate, with an average gift of $38 * 77% with incomes from $35,000-$55,000 give, with an average gift of $52 * 79% with incomes over $55,000 contribute, with an average gift of $79 Americans will participate in a variety of charitable programs and activities during the holidays, including donating toys for children (72%), providing gifts and food for needy families through an adopt-a-family type program (47%), volunteering to solicit donations for a charitable organization such as the Salvation Army (28%), volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter (16%), and hosting a needy family in their homes for a holiday meal (10%).