Tough economic times are not causing Edmonton families to think twice about giving, says the head of the city’s local chapter of the United Way.

Households, in fact, are still finding ways to give in Alberta’s capital city and that shouldn’t be a surprise since Edmonton is known to be a “caring community,” said Anne Smith, president and CEO of the Alberta Capital Region United Way.

“One of the things the citizens of this region are known for is they come through in the good times and the tough times,” said Smith.

“People are still giving, and yes, some people are giving less because of the tough times, but others are making up for that impact in a big way.”

Smith say Edmonton has always historically pulled through for charities because residents recognize that giving “makes good economic sense” in these tough economic times.

“When you give, you get just as much back, if not more,” said Smith.

Smith says volunteers are still pouring into all of the charities the United Way helps.

The United Way is also starting to notice an increase in the number of families who are spending some time doing front line volunteer work in Edmonton, said Smith.

“We are finding that when they volunteer, they want to give more after (experiencing) what they’ve been involved in,” said Smith. “This is really exciting for the community.”

Smith said the United Way is also having an easy time in recruiting people for its campaign drives and Edmontonians are stepping up to the plate when it comes to making in-kind contributions, like coats for the United Way’s annual Coats for Kids Drive.

“For many (in this recession), that’s the way they can get involved,” said Smith
And while the tough times may cause some to tighten their belts by giving less to charities, Smith says she’s still confident the United Way will have a successful campaign when it revs up this fall.

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