Help for holidays slim with donations down

Help for the holidays could be hard to come by with non-for-profits hit hard themselves.

This week St. Vincent de Paul is getting ready to distribute 12-hundred Christmas baskets to needy families this weekend. The baskets include lots of food, toys, and blankets. Many non-for-profits that receive donations from companies or families didn’t because of the economy. St. Vincent and the Salvation Army have seen a 40 percent increase in the number of applications from new families recently hit by hard times.

“Even those that have been able to help in the past, you know are giving less,” explains Karen Sommers from United Way. “It’s not going as far.”

At United Way's 211 Call Center, it has seen a third more phone calls with people needing assistance for the holidays or facing unemployment problems.

“One of the things we recognize is that there is a need like never before for hope,” says St. Vincent de Paul director Charles Thompson. “In our community, when we deliver these baskets, it’s more than toys. One person will deliver
to another person those well wishes.”

If you want to help, St Vincent de Paul is still in need of about a thousand blankets. New blankets can be dropped off at the LaSalle Square Store at Ardmore Trail. Volunteers are also needed for Friday and Saturday to hand out the baskets.

Plus any new donation given to United Way will be matched by the organization.

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