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NJ charities going strong [AUDIO]

New Jersey residents can pat themselves on the back for helping the country reach a record-high amount of charitable giving last year.

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Salvation Army
Chris McGrath, Getty Images

Charitable organizations in New Jersey said residents are, and have been, in a giving mood, and the economic downturn never changed that.

Donations totaled $335.17 billion nationwide in 2013, a jump of more than $14 billion from the year prior.

United Way of Central Jersey, handling portions of Middlesex and Somerset counties, recently ended its major campaign push that started in October, and the response was more pleasant than usual.

“We’re showing an increase of just about 8 percent in total resources generated,” said Gloria Astanski, president of UWCJ.

Dollars collected for Superstorm Sandy-related relief are counted separately, as well as donated gifts and volunteer hours.

Astanski also cited a spike in designations, which get handed off to UWCJ, but are meant for other organizations, some of which are outside New Jersey.

At The Salvation Army New Jersey Division, which collects approximately $20 million annually, officers and volunteers are on pace for another strong year.

“We were blessed to see an increase in our monetary donations, as well as an increase in people donating their time to relief efforts because of our emergency disaster response,” said Major Ed George, a divisional secretary for the Salvation Army.

The organization has a separate pot as well for Sandy funds, 93 percent of which has already been distributed.

Major George said the giving hasn’t been slowed recently by the weaker economy. Those that have the resources are digging a little deeper to help the less fortunate.

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