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Orly Borges Personal Collection
A time for being charitable
New York City
The holiday season in America is traditionally a time of gift-giving among family and friends. It is also a time for many Americans to help others who are less fortunate than they are. One such charitable effort has been helping people in New York help other New Yorkers for the past century. Along with the smell of roasting chestnuts on Fifth Avenue, and the sound of hand-bells rung by the scores of Santa Claus look-alikes outside the bustling Big Apple department stores, the re-appearance of the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund is another signal for New Yorkers that the holiday season is here.
Every day from the beginning of November till the end of January, the New York Times newspaper highlights the plight of around ninety people who are down on their luck, who could be helped through readers' generosity. "I think the unifying spirit here is one of civic conscience", says Jack Rosenthal, who administers the Neediest Cases Fund for the New York Times Foundation.
The fund was
conceived on Christmas Day 1911, after the newspaper's publisher went for a walk
following a big turkey dinner and was approached by a hungry man asking for
money for food. The kindly publisher gave it to him and the following Christmas,
he asked the staff of his newspaper to go out and find the hundred neediest
people in New York and to write stories about them. The publisher felt confident
that New Yorkers, once presented with this information, would sympathise and
respond. That remains the spirit of this fund," says Mr. Rosenthal. The fund has
received over two hundred million dollars since it began from donors large and
small, and as diverse as the city of New York itself. People from all walks of
life have donated to the cause.
Most of the people that Neediest Cases Fund helps are native New Yorkers who
have had a hard life. It's a program very much in keeping with a deep-rooted
tradition of giving to charity in the United States. Last year, Americans
donated over 240 billion dollars to various different charities.
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Most of the people the fund
helps were born in New York.
How much money has the Neediest
Cases Fund raised since it was set up?
During which month does the
Neediest Cases Fund campain for donations?