Holiday assistance drops as need rises - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Holiday assistance drops as need rises

WASHINGTON. - As the final bell sounds on this "season of giving," charities across the country are struggling.
 
It has been a rough holiday season for charities across the country as many are faced with the dilemma of trying to take care of more people in need with fewer donations coming in.
 
"We're being challenged more this year than we have in the past couple of decades," said Major George Hood of the Salvation Army.
 
According to a poll of nearly 400 charities, at least one-third expect donations to drop by 10 percent or more this year.
 
Among those feeling the crunch is 'Toys for Tots,' the annual Marine Corps drive to provide presents for more than 13 million kids in need.
 
"We are down 22 percent in corporate cash contributions this year, which means a lot of toys for our program," said Major Bill Grein, Vice President with the Marine's Toys for Tots Foundation. "Our website donations are down over a million dollars from where it was last December this time."
 
The Red Kettle at the Salvation Army is at least eight percent lighter than last year.
 
One big reason: many of the hands that normally drop a buck or two in the bucket are, this year, reaching out for help.
 
"Those who have been traditional givers are now in need and are coming to us, embarrassed, truly embarrassed, but are asking for any help we can provide," said Major George Hood of the Salvation Army.
 
Food banks across the country are facing the same problem.
 
This holiday, there are simply more mouths to feed and as the need increases, the time to help is running out.
 
This weekend is the last time this year that many charities will accept donations.
 
"We're really in a difficult time and we're hoping the American public will come through, they have never let us down and we're trusting that they will come through again this year," said Major Hood.
 
The Spokane Salvation Army has set a goal for their Kettle campaign of between $250,000 and $300,000. As of Friday, they have raised $235,000.
 
"All it would take is for those who normally drop a quarter in the kettle to drop in two, or those who usually drop in a dollar to drop in two," said Spokane Corps Officer Captain Kyle Smith. "Digging that little bit deeper will really help us help those who need it most, not just now but also year round."
 
It could be the most important and meaningful gift you give this season.
 
The Salvation Army and Toys for Tots will be accepting donations through the weekend.
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