“We absolutely are getting the word out!” says Mary Schlitt of Food Gatherers. The message Schlitt and other nonprofits are spreading is, “Give while the giving is still good.” As part of Governor Snyder’s tax-shift package, Dec. 31 is the last date Michigan residents can claim a state tax credit for gifts to food banks like Food Gatherers–along with homeless shelters, community foundations, and public universities, museums, and libraries.

The 50 percent credit can save a single taxpayer $100, a couple $200, and estates, trusts, and businesses $5,000. Losing the credit “has the potential to greatly impact donations,” says Nicole Adelman, director of the Alpha House family shelter. “That’s actually true of all the shelters in the county.”

Losing the credit will be “a blow to us,” says Ozone House director Katie Doyle. Most gifts to the teen shelter and support agency are $400 or less, and Doyle expects the tax change will affect those donors “big time.” She’s sending out a mailing to 2,000 supporters encouraging them to give before year-end. Food Gatherers has sent out a 10,000-piece mailing, along with 3,000 emails to their biggest donors. At 107one radio’s “Rockin’ for the Hungry” food drive and fundraiser (December 7-11 at the Maple Road Kroger), the slogan will be, “use it or lose it.”