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Food & Friends in Washington,D.C, which feeds thousands of HIV, cancer patients, fears 'fiscal cliff' could see donations drop

11:31 PM, Nov 26, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- It's a triple whammy holiday season for a lot of charities this year.

The fiscal cliff... the potential end of the charitable tax deduction... talk of the US slipping back into recession -- all have charities worried about how they'll take care of the people who depend on them.

Food & Friends delivers more than one million hot meals a year from its kitchens in Northeast DC. Thousands of HIV and cancer patients depend on the charity for healthy food to help their bodies fight back. "This is all bad news, particularly at this time of year," says Food & Friends Executive Director Craig Shniderman.

Food & Friends fears this could be the last good season of giving.
Just the talk is hurting -- of budget cuts and eliminating the tax deduction for charitable donations. "Everything seems to be concerning," says Shniderman. "And if I'm feeling concerned, the donors are feeling concerned. And that's not good for charitable giving."

Food & Friends has a total annual budget of almost $9-million.
Almost half of that comes from individual donations and from government funding. So this whole debate could hit almost half of Food and Friends budget.

Seniors who get hot lunches from Meals on Wheels are worried too.

Local Meals on Wheels charities deliver about 365 million lunches a year. The national association says the White House budget proposed for next year could force it to cut 22 million of those meals -- and the automatic cuts if there's no budget deal would cut another 17 million meals. "Oh we're very concerned about this," says Robert Herbolsheimer of the Meals On Wheels Association of America.

The charities are fighting the tax changes, and hoping people will keep giving out of the goodness of the hearts -- and not just for a tax deduction.

Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
9News Now & wusa9.com
Twitter: @BruceLeshan

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