Charitable giving
Charitable giving - 
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Kai Ryssdal: This being a Wednesday, we'd usually do our letters segment right about here. But since we've been talking philanthropy this week, we wanted to know how your charitable giving has changed over the past year.

Roger Cooke: I'm a retired college professor, I live in Burlington, Vt. We're comfortably off, so we feel that if anybody can make up the slack, it's us retired people. We have to do it.

Martha Reifschneider: I live in Silver Spring, Md. I'm a volunteer docent with the National Parks Services at the National Mall. Instead of giving to our alma mater universities, we've basically shifted all of that giving to things like food banks and other organizations that directly help people, especially who are affected by the recession.

Andrew diPalma: I live in upstate New York near Albany. Right now I am a postal worker and I'm also a retired military officer. I just started getting my Army retirement check, so we have a little more money to spare, so we can afford to give some good charities our money.

Patty Stolzoff: I live in Seattle and I'm a dental hygenist. I have double the amount that I give to food banks because there's more hungry people. I know from experience that giving cash, they can make a dollar go farther than they can if you give them a can of beans.

Reifschneider: I know that a lot of the giving to those organizations drops when the economy goes bad, because many people just don't have those kind of discretionary dollars.

Cooke: I write one check a year myself to United Way and tell them to divide it between the Visiting Nurses Association and Retired Senior Volunteers program.

Reifschneider: The need is always great, and it's just something that is an important part of what we do when we sit down and write checks every month.

diPalma: I think everybody should do what they can, you know, whether it's a little kid giving their pennies that they saved or a big person having a few extra dollars to give to, in my case, a local charity.

Ryssdal: You can hear all the stories in our philanthropy series and offer up your stories.