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Local effect of donations being down nationwide for places of worship

Posted at 12:26 PM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 20:55:48-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Nationwide, churches are said to have seen a huge drop in donations since the beginning of the pandemic.

“It's a challenging time, I think, for every nonprofit and for every religious institution. We are okay. Are we in great shape or where we would be with it were it not for COVID-19? No We're not for know, on how many people can say that, except Amazon,” said Rabbi Samuel Cohon, with Congregation Beit Simcha Tucson.

Cohon said donations are lower than what would be expected at this time; and Bishop Edward Weisenburger with the Diocese of Tucson echos that same sentiment.

“Our annual financial reports at the end of June. At that time, we were down only 7-percent. I'm somewhat overwhelmed at the generosity of our Catholic people and are firmly they've remained committed. Now from June to the present, that data is more anecdotal right now, but it seems to be anywhere down from 10 to 30-percent,” said Weisenburger.

Bishop Weisenburger said the catholic foundation has been making emergency grants to keep doors open and basic expenses paid.

“We anticipate we're going to need another quarter of a million to keep those parishes a float in the last quarter of the year, and that’s going to be a real stretch for us. But we also realized our situation mirrors that of the area. The economy of our culture and our world. And we are in solidarity with those who are struggling,” said Weisenburger.

“The impact will, I think will be felt more severely as the time goes on, you know, if we can open up more fully. If there's a vaccine. If it's really safe, not just okay 25 people spread out in a building that could accommodate 200, then I think we’ll be back on track. But it’s very interesting times,” said Cohon.

Many places of worship have transitioned to online services, and many folks are still able to donate through that medium in place of physically handing in monetary gifts.

“It's a reminder this whole coronavirus experience that we think we know what we're doing, but in a large way. It's really how in God's hands, what is in our hands is our ability to support the institutions that we care about. And that matter to us,” said Cohon.