Juneau charities lag behind holiday goals

Posted: Sunday, December 15, 2002

With a shorter charity-drive season between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, local groups are scrambling for holiday donations of items from toys to turkeys. So far, many charities are far behind their goals.

Charity wish lists

Glory Hole

Contact: Lance Young, 586-4159


Canned goods

Gifts for teenagers

St. Vincent de Paul

Contact: Joe Hubert 789-5535, ext. 14

Sponsor families for the Adopt-a-Family Program

Salvation Army

Contact: 586-2136


Great Alaskan Toy Drive

Contact: Michelle Shaw, 586-1800

Unwrapped toys, especially for infants

Gift certificates for teenagers

High School Toy Drive

Contact: Heather Binkley, 463-1940

At the Glory Hole, for example, there is a turkey dearth for Christmas boxes for needy families. So far the shelter has collected about 45 turkeys, but 183 families are in need of boxes, according to Director Lance Young.

"We are still lacking a lot of things," Young said. "I am trying to make sure everybody in Juneau has a happy Christmas."

Along with turkeys, the Glory Hole needs canned goods and children's gifts, Young said. Many of the gifts will be distributed at the Glory Hole Christmas party Dec. 22.

At St. Vincent de Paul, the charity had to stop signing people up for the Adopt-A-Family program because program administrators weren't finding enough sponsors to adopt families, said Joe Hubert, aid administrator.

The program pairs needy families with donors who buy presents and food to be delivered near Christmas. There are 19 families without donors, Hubert said.

"We really just need sponsor families," he said.

The Salvation Army is one of the few agencies on track for most donations, except for toys. They have placed "Angel Trees" at the Nugget Mall, ACS Wireless and Key Bank. At the trees, people may pick a paper angel that represents a child and buy that child a Christmas gift. Though many angels have been taken, the gifts are not coming in at their usual rate.

"The toy drive is way down," said Salvation Army Maj. Larry Fankauser. "There are so many agencies that have been collecting toys, the toy area has been really hard hit. Aside from that we are pretty much maintaining."

If the toys are going to other agencies, they aren't going to the Great Alaskan Toy Drive sponsored by KSUP/KINY and the Alaska Army National Guard. Program Coordinator Michelle Shaw said she has filled only about a quarter of the 1,200 requests for toys. Shaw said the drive also has been affected by the number of competing drives.

"It's hard because Thanksgiving came so late and all the agencies have to get their toys out and distributed before Christmas," she said.

The drive is looking for new, unwrapped toys for children under 18. Shaw said she is hardest up for toys for infants and gifts, such as certificates for books or music, for teenagers. Collected toys are distributed to charities in Juneau, such as the Glory Hole, as well as needy children in other Southeast communities.

The Great Alaskan Toy Drive ends Dec. 18, Shaw said.

Juneau-Douglas High School health students also are collecting toys as a community service project in a drive that ends Monday. Vista volunteer Heather Binkley is coordinating the drive and students have put collection boxes at The Observatory bookstore downtown, Super Bear supermarket, the Juneau Empire and at the JDHS Teen Health Center, said Mary Tonsmeire of the health center.

Gift donation numbers are small, but all are appreciated, students said.

"This is the first year we have done this," Tonsmeire said.

Julia O'Malley can be reached at jomalley@juneauempire.com.

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