Community Donations Take Away From Local Charities

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

September 23, 2005

We've heard over and over about the tremendous donations from the community to hurricane survivors.

But local charities are beginning to feel those donations drifting away.

Charlottesville's Red Cross, United Way and Salvation Army, are all charities that rely 100% on local dollars to meet local needs.

"We have people right here in our area that don't have enough food to eat, that don't have shelter, that don't have the necessities that they need," says Jim Fitzgerald, United Way Communications Director.

The community's financial generosity for hurricane survivors has put Charlottesville charities in a financial crunch.

"As of today, we've received $93,000 from the Charlottesville community to the Salvation Army specifically for the hurricane relief efforts, and therefore not one penny of that money can be spent in the Charlottesville community," says Major Bruce Smith with the Salvation Army.

Sixty thousand of those dollars came from people who normally donate very faithfully to the Salvation Army's local effort.

"The only thing we can do at this time is to thank the public for being so generous and so helpful and so concerned for those survivors of the hurricane," explained Smith.

Even though their focus is the local community, they in no way want to discourage people from donating to national efforts.

"It's a wonderful thing that people are doing, we just want them to remind them to dig a little deeper and be mindful of the local needs as well. They too exist," says Fitzgerald.

With Hurricane Rita moving in, charities are hoping to get even more donations in as soon as possible.

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