With the holidays warming the hearts of locals, there's no better time to give to those less fortunate.
As a whole, we in Wilson County are giving millions each year, $74,215,000 in 2013, to be exact. By percentage, we are one of the most generous counties in Tennessee.
According to a report from The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Wilson County as a whole donates 4.12 percent of their income to charitable organizations, more than neighboring counties Davidson (3.95 percent) and Williamson (3.71 percent).
"Sounds like we are doing alright," some say (as we pat ourselves on the back).
But according to the study, the less a person earns, the larger percentage of their money they give.
That sounds backwards, right? But it isn't.
In fact, it's the exact opposite of what many people would believe.
Many would suspect that those that earn the most give the most, but the interesting trend shows that those who earn the least give the most, by percentage, that is.
Here's the data to prove it:
$200,000 and up- 3.79 percent
$100,000-200,000- 3.85 percent
$75,000-$100,000- 4.40 percent
$50,000-75,000- 4.43 percent
$25,000-50,000- 4.86 percent
$25,000 and less- 10.02 percent
It's plain to see, right here in newsprint and ink, as income goes down, giving goes up.
Wilson County residents reported $1.8 billion adjusted gross income in 2013. The median adjusted gross income was reported at slightly more than $81,000, with $4,588 in average contributions to charitable organizations.
But are we giving enough?
Many people, including myself, say, "When I get more, I'll give more." We all have bills to pay, we claim. And most of us have debt. "When we pay off the debt..." we say. Or the "highly-likely" scenario, "when I win the lottery..."
Let's cut out the "if/then" scenarios and take a look at the truth. Wilson County is the second wealthiest county in the state. Many of us don't realize how blessed we are.
Here's a test: if you have bought groceries in the past month and did not have to worry about the total, then you have enough to give, even if it's a little.
If you haven't noticed, gas prices have dropped below $2 per gallon for the first time in years.
That's almost half of what it was running just this summer. So we all have a little more than we planned, even if you didn't plan.
Let's take the example of those most would say have the least to give and look again at our checkbooks and our hearts.
The greatest gift of the holidays is giving to others.