Canadian winter visitors donating back home for tsunami relief
Some of Yuma's Canadian winter visitors are making donations to the tsunami victims through their own country's Red Cross, because the Canadian government is matching the contributions dollar-for-dollar.
In addition, Canadians who donate through organizations in their own country can deduct 100 percent of the money from their Canadian taxes.
"One of the reasons Canadians might choose to donate back home rather than here in the U.S., might be because of the tax break," said Lona Coleman, originally from British Columbia, now a permanent resident in Yuma.
"Only in the past few years has the Canadian government allowed each donated dollar to be deducted from our income tax, where before it was only something like 17 percent (deductible) over a certain donation amount. So I am not surprised if Canadians in Yuma choose to donate back home."
Coleman continued, "Plus it's easier to just transfer money from their Canadian bank accounts to the Canadian Red Cross."
Some Canadian winter visitors are also donating in both the United States and Canada.
"We donated to our local Red Cross in Canada, because the Canadian government is matching each donation dollar for dollar," said Libby Fitzpatrick, resident at Cocopah Bend RV and Golf Resort.
"But my husband has also been donating here locally when he goes to the Catholic church on Sundays. So we help out down here too."
Cocopah Bend RV and Golf Resort Activities Director Marilyn Dorn said the same.
"In the beginning, right after the disaster happened, the Canadians here in our park were uncertain where to send their money, so I know several of our Canadian residents sent their money back to their local Red Cross up in Canada."
Dorn said that the resort has since set up a committee, which researched what agencies were approved by the U.S. government and the Better Business Bureau as official donation organizations, then they placed those "12 or more organizations" on a list and passed it out to park residents.
"We sent out a newsletter for everyone to read then select who they wanted to donate to, so that they would be sure they knew where their money was going. That is how we decided to do it out here, so people had more control over where their donations went," Dorn said.
Country Roads RV Village has found another way to help out - by collecting books.
"It got back to someone here in the Village that troops in Asia, as well as the troops in Iraq, need reading materials. So we have started a book-drive here in the park," said Grant Workman, Canadian citizen and resident in Country Roads RV Village.
"We also had a toy drive here earlier, to collect toys for children who are victims of the tsunami disaster."