Gordon Getty cancels his 74th birthday bash, and the evening's limousine service finds its biggest contract of the year kaput, not to mention the caterer and all its personnel, the entertainers, and everyone else who would have been involved.
Individuals decide to give less or nothing to their favorite charities without realizing that other donors are also cutting back. And this is at a time when people need food banks and other help more than ever. Now is probably a time to increase donations if at all possible.
Stand! Against Domestic Violence, which serves the county with hotlines and emergency and interim shelters, says that not only have contributions fallen but its services are needed more than in good economic times. It reports that since fall 2007:
* Emergency calls to its crisis line have doubled;
* Requests for emergency shelter are up 20 percent; and
* Requests for victim assistance from police, hospital and BART stations have increased eight-fold.
"It's no secret that funding has become significantly more challenging during the past couple of months with the economic downturn," said Gloria Sandoval, Stand! executive director. "But we're relying on the fact the compassionate local residents value our services and will continue to support the life-saving work of Stand!"
One way to help others without a financial output is to sign up for Scrip. The schools have been soliciting their communities for decades to benefit them this way while buying groceries and other everyday purchases, although the actual paper scrip is a thing of the past. Now anyone can go online and enter Stand! or any other worthy organization, put in a credit card or a discount store card such as Safeway and have a portion of purchases automatically donated. The Web site is www.escrip.com and nonprofit groups to benefit can be found by ZIP code. The ZIP code for Stand!, by the way, is 94520.