The holiday season is supposed to be about giving, but some local charities are having trouble conducting business in these tough times. Most charities across the South Plains are not meeting their goals for the holiday season. The bleak economy is really taking a toll on the amount that is usually given and the number is also increasing for those who need assistance this year.
Tammy Gorden is a mother of four and a cook at the Salvation Army. About two months ago Gorden found herself homeless and had to turn to the shelter. She has never needed assistance before but living through this year's economy proved too much. "There just was never enough. It either there wasn't enough food or never enough money to pay the bills," said Gorden.
Although Gorden is in the process of getting back on her feet she still depends on local charities to help her through the holiday season and make it a happy one for her children. "There's a lot of things that I have took for granted as far as I've got enough to eat, I've got enough to wear, I've got my bills paid, I took it for granted. But now that I'm on the other side of the fence, I'm very appreciative," said Gorden.
But many charities around the hub city are having a hard time too - they just aren't seeing the amount of donations expected. "25-35% more people, brand new people that we have never seen over and above last year, so the need is there," said Major Ernest Branscum with the Salvation Army.
Toys for Tots are almost 8,000 toys short of their goal this year. "We've seen a large need this year and there aren't that many people to help out as much as they would normally like to because they're in just as bad of hurt as everybody else," said SSgt Joseph Bennett with Toys for Tots.
The U-Can Share Food Drive raised only half of their goal not good news since the food bank has seen a 20% increase of people needing help this year. "But then we also recognize that everybody is in an uncertain time and we are all tightening our belts and trying to make due the best we can," said Executive Director of the South Plains Food Bank David Weaver.
The Salvation Army bell ringers are down 25% from where they were this time last year with donations. But Gorden says living through her hardships this year is something she and her children will never forget. "As they're growing up, they are going to remember this, and I want them to turn around and give back and do the same thing. If we keep it going and one person helps another, everybody is going to be alright," said Gorden.
To donate to Toys For Tots: Drop a new unwrapped toy between $5 to $15 in value at the South Plains Mall, Toys R Us, Taco Bell, Taco Villa, Pizza Hut, or Wal-Mart. Questions call 763-2853
To donate to South Plains Food Bank visit www.spfb.org
Salvation Army kettles are located at 29 places around town.
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