Giving Tuesday

November 28, 2016 - Serving Seniors

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. This holiday season consider making your holiday gift to Serving Seniors Hidden Hungry Campaign. With your help we can reach our goal of raising $50,000 to feed hungry seniors in San Diego.

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Click here to start your own Hidden Hungry fundraising page

End-of-Year Giving: Selecting a charity and avoid being scammed

November 18, 2016 - Serving Seniors

Giving to a charity each year is easy for most of us. We find ourselves drawn to a cause, a particular group, mission, and well we just plain want to help those who may be less fortunate than ourselves. When you have a personal tie to an organization, giving your hard-earned dollars is simple.

However, what happens when you don’t have a charity in mind or you are new to donating financially? Often during this time of year, con artists take advantage of the generosity of San Diegans and take the hard-earned money for themselves, rather than for reputable and legitimate non-profit organizations that serve the most vulnerable in our community. Here are seven quick tips to help you chose a legitimate organization and avoid being scammed:

  1. Only give to a charity you know.
  2. Do your research! Research an organization before you donate. There are a variety of online resources that provide free access to comprehensive reports about non-profit organizations. Start with a visit to California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts (oag.ca.gov/charities), the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance (www.give.org), Guidestar (www.guidestar.com) and Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org). Plus, go to the organization’s website and really get a good understanding of what the charity does and who benefits from your donation.
  3. Ask questions. Real charities are able to tell you how they use their donations and what portion of your contribution will go directly to the group they are trying to help. Ideally, 85 cents of every dollar raised should go directly to programs and services of the charitable organization, with the minimal amount remaining to underwrite administrative salaries and operational expenses. Also, ask them for a 990 tax form. If they cannot give you this information, don’t give them your money.
  4. Do not send to a P.O. Box. Make sure the organization has an actual street address, where you can go and see the charity in action at anytime.
  5. Ask for a tour. Or even better just show up unannounced. A reputable charity would be delighted to give you a tour on the spot.
  6. There should be no hard sell. Organizations don’t need money “today.” If they cannot give you an answer for what the donation is to be used for then walk away.
  7. Leverage your contribution. Often times, reputable organizations will have donors who will match your contribution during their fundraising campaigns.  The commitment by donors to their preferred organization shows credibility.  For example, right now at Serving Seniors, thanks to a generous long-time donor, financial donations made during our “Hidden Hungry” campaign will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000.

At Serving Seniors, we are committed to transparency with our donors.  Our website provides comprehensive financial information and details about all of our programs and services.  Additionally, we are happy to provide any additional information requested by a donor via email, the mail, or in-person. We encourage you to come “kick the tires” and get to know our organization. We offer tours five days a week and will walk you through several of our locations, including our nationally recognized Gary & Mary West Wellness Senior Center.

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What are the Candidates Doing to Address Aging Issues?

November 1, 2016 - Serving Seniors

There is only one week left until America chooses its next president—Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump. And still candidates are keeping quiet on issues effecting older Americans.

Now is the perfect time to make your voice heard on protecting and strengthening the health and economic security of older adults in your community. The National Council on Aging has put together some important questions you can be asking our candidates to get some answers on aging issues.

Questions to Ask Candidates

1. Long-Term Care

Millions of Americans will need some long-term care services in their lifetime. Yet, most do not realize that Medicare does not cover these costs, and private insurance is unaffordable for many. Too often, seniors are forced to impoverish themselves to get assistance from Medicaid. In addition, access to home care is limited because of Medicaid’s institutional bias. The result is that burdens on family caregivers are only getting worse.

What to ask the candidate: What are your plans to address America’s growing long-term care crisis for families?

2. Funding for Senior Programs

Senior programs—such as home-delivered meals, falls prevention, caregiver support, and elder abuse prevention—keep older adults healthy, secure, and independent in their own homes. They also help families who are juggling elder care with other responsibilities. Yet, the Older Americans Act and other senior services are drastically underfunded with growing waiting lists under recent budget caps.

What to ask the candidate: What will you do to reverse the downward trend in support of aging services and make overdue investments in programs that support seniors’ health and economic security?

3. Medicare Low-Income Protections

Half of Medicare beneficiaries have incomes below $24,500. Yet, on average, they must pay more than $5,000 annually out-of-pocket for their health care needs. These seniors face impossible decisions each month on whether to spend their limited incomes on medicine, food, or rent.

What to ask the candidate: What are your plans to strengthen Medicare to ensure that seniors with low incomes who are struggling to make ends meet can afford their health care needs?

4. Senior Hunger

More than nine million older adults face the threat of hunger, yet three in five seniors eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – formerly known as Food Stamps) are not enrolled in the benefit. Others face fewer home-delivered meals and long waiting lists to participate.

What to ask the candidate: What are your plans to improve vulnerable seniors’ access to the nutritious food necessary for maintaining their health and independence?

5. Social Security

Social Security is the most effective anti-poverty program in U.S. history, keeping 21 million people out of poverty each year. Still, a substantial number of seniors, particularly women and African Americans, rely on Social Security for most or all of their retirement income. This fixed income often isn’t enough to make ends meet, leaving many American seniors struggling to get by.

What to ask the candidate: How do you plan to strengthen Social Security so it better serves the most vulnerable seniors and their families?

For more resources on engaging with Elected Officials visit www.ncoa.org

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