Charities see rise in need lately
Published 3:43 pm Wednesday, November 12, 2008
By By Lydia Grimes – features reporter
On Tuesday, nine new families sought help from the food bank at First United Methodist Church, where shelves could use some replenishing.
Meanwhile, the Brewton Christmas Project will have to stretch its dollars this year to buy Christmas presents for children in need - but the money may not help as many children.
Crane's concerns echo those among many in the business of helping the needy - since as the national economy has sagged, needs have risen in the Brewton area.
Agencies that help residents and families make it day by day are seeing an increase in requests recently, although the calls to offer help are also plentiful.
Higher costs - particularly higher fuel costs - have had an impact on the needs, Fussell said. So far, the organization has not had any state or federal funding cuts, she said.
Lynn Barnes, director of Escambia Department of Human Resources and manager of the Escambia County Trust, said she has also seen an increase in people applying for assistance.
Like the organizers of The Christmas Project, the Sportsman Club is having the same problem with its Christmas plans.
In order to get more funding, members of the club will station themselves around Brewton and East Brewton on Nov. 15, to take donations. Freds and Super Foods in East Brewton, and Pic-n-Sav, Piggly Wiggly, and Winn-Dixie in Brewton, will have members of the club to take the donations from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Any member of the Sportsman Club will be able to accept donations until the end of November to make sure that children have a good Christmas.
Melanie Harrison of Southern Pine is hoping the electric cooperative's seasonal project will not be affected by the economy. Southern Pine helps coordinate the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ministry, which collects shoeboxes filled with toys and other gifts for children in war-torn areas around the world.
Southern Pine collects an average of 2,000 shoeboxes from area residents.
Shoeboxes can be dropped off at Southern Pine office in Brewton, Evergreen, Atmore or Frisco City by Nov. 19, Harrison said.
While opportunities for giving grow with the season, the needs continue to grow, too.
At the First United Methodist Church food bank, more and more residents are seeking help.
Another local organization finding it hard to cope with the economy is the American Red Cross. The director, Rogene Martin, said they are doing the best they can with their funding.
Red Cross is one of the many agencies that receive grants from United Fund, the Brewton area organization that acts as an umbrella fund-raising group. United Fund is in the middle of its annual fund drive.