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Oregonians Asked to Add Some "Giving" to Thanksgiving

November 23, 2009

PORTLAND, Ore. - When budgets are tight, it's hard to know how much to give to charity, but many nonprofit groups in Oregon are struggling. Mercy Corps, the global relief organization based in Portland, is suggesting people help others by giving whatever amount they're spending on their own Thanksgiving dinner.

Caitlin Carlson, communications officer with Mercy Corps, says even if that's not possible, every dollar counts in countries that are facing war or weather-related crises.

"It takes only $5 to help replant an acre of rice. Mercy Corps is conscious of the U.S. economic climate, but we want to remind people that even a little bit, a few dollars, can have a huge impact."

As an example, a $30 donation buys an emergency food box to supply a household for several days after a flood or earthquake. Carlson says Mercy Corps aid workers often arrive at disaster sites within hours - most recently, in Indonesia.

"Providing emergency food is critical because, when economies are completely decimated by a natural disaster, there are no markets to go to any more. The flow of food stops."

The United Nations has named malnutrition the world's top health risk. Carlson says the Thanksgiving request is part of Mercy Corps' "One Table" campaign - a push to invest more money in fighting hunger and helping women support their families.

Carlson says Thanksgiving will be "business as usual" for 3,700 Mercy Corps workers. They are helping farmers, building wells and schools, making small loans to family businesses and more, in 40 countries.

Donations can be made online at www.mercycorps.org/thanksgiving.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR