Holiday donations not enough to feed the hungry year-round

Community support for the less fortunate is still needed following the busiest season for both the Bread of Life and Salvation Army.

Community support for the less fortunate is still needed following the busiest season for both the Bread of Life and Salvation Army. Although neither met their goals, representatives said that all of the non-perishable donations received helped to fill the shelves and will assist for the short-term, but financial needs continue to be a concern.

The Salvation Army set a goal of raising $65,000 through the red kettles collection, but came $11,000 short. Even so, coordinator Greg Penny said he is happy with the total.

“We are up from $48,000 that was raised last year,” Penny said. “The community supported us well.”

Before the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign kicked off on Nov. 27, Penny’s main priority was recruiting volunteers to fill all of the bell-ringing time slots. He was able to sign up about the same number as last year and recruited about 80 new faces, but still some locations were left without a kettle.

“We get more donations when the kettle is out there, but some people were sick, and in the end, needed to cancel shifts,” Penny said.

He said younger volunteers, including parents with their children helped this year, and for the first time had a group of school teachers.

“We give hampers to the high school so they thought it would be a good way to give back to us,” Penny said.

He said many of the organization’s long time volunteers are aging and a number have health issues, so he is hoping to tap into the next generation.

“It will be something to build on for next year after seeing the numbers decrease over the past five years,” Penny said.

Donations of food will sustain the food bank for the next couple months, but Penny expects the Salvation Army will be using the newly acquired funds to buy more shortly into the New Year.

Similarly, the Bread of Life received an influx of non-perishable items from several community drives and individual donations over the holiday season.

Still, it is cash that is desperately needed, said Pamela Day, the Bread of Life’s treasurer.

Although a final count was not complete by the end of December, Day said she expects to remain in need of $10,000.

“November was very low but December was much better,” she said.

It was December when the Bread of Life put out a desperate call for help as funds were draining more than financial assistance was coming in.

“We had some new givers, so I think people responded to that,” Day said. “We also did a mail-out at the same time so I hope that when all is entered, things will look better. We were worried in November, but we are still $10,000 low so it is a concern.”

Day said there are no more large expenses expected for the building in the near future, but it is the daily operation that remains a priority.

“The hydro and gas are going up so it costs much more than before,” she said. “We just need cash to keep paying the bills.”

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