Advocates encourage Utahns to make wise choices about charitable giving during the holidays

Utahns are historically some of the most generous folks anywhere, and we are especially giving during the holidays.

But that often leads to situations where it’s too much of a good thing.

State and city officials, in particular those who work closely with the homeless, say some of that generosity during the holidays can lead to problems.

Folks giving food directly to those on the streets leads to sanitary issues and concerns.

Those who give clothing or household items directly to homeless citizens create another issue because it often leads to clean up problems for city work crews, who have to go around and pick up items that are sometimes quickly discarded.

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, along with several advocates for the homeless, gathered Tuesday morning to remind all Utahns to keep giving, to keep being generous, but to try to do it in the most effective way possible.

"We actually have been concerned about the increased giving around the holidays because the people that we're serving... they have needs all year round," said Pamela Atkinson, an advocate for the homeless. "And we want people to be able to give all year round."

Atkinson said the easiest way is to let your fingers do the walking and donate online. There are several websites for charitable organizations where you can find out what items are really needed most.

Sanitary items are always in demand, and this time of year the need for coats, hats gloves and warm shoes also goes way up.

And of course cash is always accepted.

Again: the folks gathered here encourage everyone to keep giving of their time, talent and treasure, but they urge people to do it in the most effective way possible.