Charities need more giving this season

Some agencies worry there will be less local aid

Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2005

Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire

  Stocking up: John Anderson stocks the freezer with donated turkeys Wednesday at the Glory Hole. With Thanksgiving two weeks away, the Glory Hole and other charitable organizations are stocking up on donated food in preparation for the holiday feast.

The less fortunate of Juneau might be a little less full when expressing their thanks this Thanksgiving.

With natural disasters across the globe leading to unprecedented charity donations this year, some of Juneau's nonprofit agencies are worried the local holiday aid might feel the effects.

"I think it's probably true that the donors are all burned out with all of the appeals," said Dan Austin, general manager for St. Vincent de Paul.

Austin said the nonprofit organization might have to scale back its annual Thanksgiving box-dinner charity this year because of the economic effects of this year's natural disasters. He said a couple of consistent donor organizations already have backed out and costs are increasing.

"We're kind of low right now, in comparison with the past," he said. "We haven't received as many donations."

Because St. Vincent de Paul also houses homeless and low-income families, the increase in heating oil prices is eating up money that normally would be on the plates of the needy.

"Money we had available on Thanksgiving in the past we just don't have, because it's all going toward oil," Austin said. "Our big need is for money because we've seen a 100 percent oil increase in two years."

how to help

for more information on how to help this holiday season call:

the glory hole: 586-4159

helping hands: 789-9705

love inc: 780-4090

st. vincent de paul: 789-5535

salvation army: 586-2136

southeast alaska food bank: 789-6184

united way of southeast alaska: 463-5530

He said the nonprofit will have to come up with about $25,000 because one-third of its cash-assistance program this year will go toward oil for three housing complexes. Also, if it doesn't come up with the money, about 40 families won't get emergency rent assistance.

"It is pretty daunting," Austin said. "We have some holes to fill and we're just going to do our best."

The agency already has received some donated turkeys, but will need quite a few more. Austin said the holidays require about 220 turkeys, with about 100 going toward Thanksgiving.

The Salvation Army also needs more turkeys for its annual Thanksgiving dinner partnership with the Hangar on the Wharf restaurant.

"We are concerned about the impact that those disasters might have," Maj. Joe Huttenlocker said. "But we're not going to know how that impacts us for a couple of more weeks and whether people's giving will be less than it was at this time last year."

The Salvation Army also needs volunteers for the dinner and about 60 pies, he said. "And we're going to need turkeys not only to help Thanksgiving itself but for the family assistance for Christmas so every family gets a turkey for Christmas as well."

Huttenlocker said the Salvation Army will need 200 turkeys.

"The holiday is fast approaching and before we know it we will be into December," he said.

Bob Thompson, operations manager for the Glory Hole, said he thinks the community will stand up for the needs of the less fortunate.

"We do thank the community for helping us in this regard; they do it every year and it's very helpful," he said.

The nonprofit has had some turkeys donated for its box-dinner giveaway, but still needs upwards of 150 turkeys, Thompson said.

"We try to make sure that no one goes without, so we have to make sure that we get those (donations) in."

Darren Adams, manager of the Southeast Alaska Food Bank, said he accepts nonperishable goods that are redistributed to other agencies, such as the Glory Hole and St. Vincent de Paul.

"I've seen more interest lately in getting some of the staples that we might have for Thanksgiving," he said. Those include cranberry sauce, dried mashed potatoes and bread.

"The biggest misconception is that hunger is only a holiday issue, when in fact we distribute just as much food during the summertime as we do during the wintertime," he said.

Austin said he believes Juneau will fill the gaps in donations because the community has always been generous and caring.

"I have complete faith in the people of Juneau and I'm sure we'll be able to meet the needs of the people."

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