Charities Suffer Low Holiday Funds

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

November 30, 2005

For charities, the holiday season is usually the best time to collect donations, but not this year. The reason for the shortage is one of the destructive hurricanes in history.

"In Charlottesville ,one in four individuals live in poverty," said Cathy Smith Train, the local United Way President.

It's a scary statistic that the United Way is fighting every day to change, but the numbers haven't gone down any further since Hurricane Katrina hit.

"It was appropriate that we reached out and supported our other citizens in other areas but now we need to look in our own backyard and make sure that we don't forget people right here at home," said Train.

The United Way is hoping mailings will help collect more donations. They need 60 percent more donations before they'll hit their goal for this year.

"We are concerned as to whether or not we'll be able to keep up the same level of service," said Major Bruce Smith, of the Salvation Army.

Major Smith knows the Salvation Army is also low on funds. While the Kettle Bells keep ringing, the money is moving in very slowly.

They're down nearly $18,000 compared to last year. These are donations that would go toward food and shelter for families and of course presents for the children.

"[There are] a lot of children who are going to be in need of toys and gifts who want to wake up on Christmas morning and have the same surprise that any other children would have on Christmas day."

But, unless the donations start dropping in, these charities won't be able to help the people who can't help themselves.

Both charities are extremely appreciative of all the gifts that were given to help Katrina victims, but they want to remind the community that there is a need here at home.

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