US churches are known for feeding the poor and hungry – but most 'good deeds' go unnoticed

American Christians are known for feeding the hungry and giving clothes to the poor, but many of their other 'good deeds' go unnoticed to the average American, a new study suggests.

A homeless man sleeps on a park bench in Logan Square on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Reuters

The survey by the Nashville-based LifeWay Research suggests much of the Church's social activity goes unnoticed to the average US citizen. Of 1000 surveyed, six in ten said they knew of Christian efforts to serve the hungry, and half said they know that churches give clothes to the poor.

The survey asked if responders had heard of churches being involved in any of 13 service programs listed by LifeWay, in the past six months.

Several activities go under the radar: few Americans knew that churches help people sort their taxes (eight per cent), foster children (12 per cent), teach job skills (13 per cent) or teach English to immigrants (13 per cent).

Americans are more aware of Christian aid in disaster relief (39 per cent) and sheltering the homeless (33 per cent). Responses to other service programs can be seen in the chart below.

Fourteen per cent of Americans weren't aware the Church was involved in any of them, seventeen per cent weren't sure.

LifeWay found that those who attend Church, especially those who attend at least once a month, are far more likely to be aware of such Church activities.

Scott McConnell, the executive director of LifeWay Research, said the figures were a problem since many Church outsiders won't be aware of the social help they could be receiving, or supporting.

'People who need help may be missing out,' McConnell said. 'And Americans who want to lend a hand might miss the chance to help out and along the way connect with the church.'