Charities are doing with much less -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Charities are doing with much less


December 12, 2007

Albany --  Charitable donations are dismal in south Georgia. People just aren't giving as much as they usually do, and that's creating a challenge for the groups that provide Christmas for the less fortunate.

At the Albany Mall, people walking past Salvation Army kettles are turning a deaf ear to the sounds of Christmas.

"We've had quite a bit of those, but we did get some donations," Frances Mathis, an Institutional First Baptist General Mission Volunteer.

 "Last year we were close to $100,000 at this point and right now we're just at $40,000," said Captain Douglas McClure of The Salvation Army.

They're not the only ones feeling the donation chill, the United Way's Campaign drive ended December first and they're only at 65 percent of their goal.

"I think across the board everyone is felling the affect of the economy and with the foreclosure of homes, people are kind of not as generous this year as they were last year," said Dwayne Myles, United Way President.

Nationally there was a one percent increase in giving last year and this year isn't expected to compare.

It was the worst year in the last four for the Albany Mayor's Motorcade which delivers gifts to Southwestern State Hospital in Thomasville. They say people would rather give to children than adults. It may be true, Toys for Tots got more toys this year, they've also had more demand.

Cash donations and big ticket items however are down. They only got 250 bicycles compared to 650 last year.

Charities say they'll do their best. "Without money we can't operate as efficient and as affective as we would like to," said Myles.

With just 10 days to go in many giving campaigns, many hope south Georgia will find the holiday spirit.

"Just give whatever you can you know it doesn't have to be a lot, of course we would appreciate a lot, but just give whatever you can," said Mathis.

The United Way helps nearly 40 charitable organization in 12 counties. Toys for Tots says they'll keep their donation boxes out at Regions Bank and Wal-Mart through the 22nd longer than usual.