By Corey Dickstein
With only four days left until Christmas and the end of the year looming, some local charities have received fewer donations than normal this holiday season.
While many take donations throughout the year, the bulk of the funds they need to operate — or to provide gifts to the needy — are typically raised at the very end of the year.
But with concerns about the economy, especially the debate about the “fiscal cliff,” fewer people are giving to nonprofits, organizations have reported.
Like other charities, the Savannah Morning News’ Empty Stocking Fund has not raised as much money as in past years for people who need help during the holiday season.
“Heading into the last week of the Empty Stocking Fund campaign before Christmas, we will need an influx of donations to meet last year’s campaign total,” said Michael C. Traynor, the newspaper’s publisher. “We live in a very generous community where neighbors help neighbors, and I am hopeful that we can raise the funds needed to help many in our community have a brighter holiday season.”
Jan Bass, marketing director for Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, said she thinks talk of the “fiscal cliff” is keeping people close to their wallets.
“There’s a bit of an impending doom people are feeling with a potential for an increased tax burden,” she said.
Goodwill, Bass said, is far behind its goal for monetary donations. While it has received a lot of clothing and other items, it requires money to fund a number of expansion projects it plans for the next year.
Currently, she said, the nonprofit that assists those with disabilities or other hurdles to employment will need a large influx of monetary donations in order to proceed with its plans; it’s a position the company is not used to being in.
“We anticipated large growth for next year,” Bass said. “We plan to expand two of our locations and open another. This is the first time since I’ve been here we’ve been below what we thought we would, and that is terribly disappointing. We hope things will pick up soon.”
Although food-drive efforts have been strong this season for the Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, the nonprofit could always use more money, said Executive Director Mary Jane Crouch.
“This is the time of year when people are thinking about food,” she said. “So, for us, the food we receive now is going to push us all the way from now into May.”
The food bank, though, could always use cash donations, she said. Especially this year, when tax loopholes that encourage donations could be closed and people could soon be paying higher taxes, and in return likely donating less of their money.
“The ‘fiscal cliff’ could really hurt nonprofits,” Crouch said. “So donations this year are going to be important for us.”
LOCAL CHARITIES ACCEPTING DONATIONS
Make checks payable to the Empty Stocking Fund and mail to the Savannah Morning News, P.O. Box 1088, Savannah, GA 31402-1088. Only monetary gifts can be accepted. Or donate at savannahnow.com/emptystocking.
America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia
Feeds the hungry by distributing nutritious food to nonprofit agencies and at-risk elderly and youth.
For more information about donations, call 912-236-6750 or go to helpendhunger.org.
Dedicated to spreading the Christian Gospel and providing humanitarian aid.
For more information, call Brad Atkinson, major gifts officer, at 912-651-7430.
United Way of the Coastal Empire
Supports community programs and services through partnerships, long-term planning and investment of donor contributions in Chatham, Effingham, Bryan and Liberty counties.
For information about donating, call 912-651-7700.
Provides humanitarian and social services to homeless and special needs communities.
Christmas gifts designed for teenagers — including purses, watches and personal care items — are requested as donations. Items can be dropped off between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 120 Fahm St. in Savannah.
A community dinner for those in need is scheduled at noon Christmas Day at 120 Fahm St.
For more information, call 912-236-7423.
Old Savannah City Mission
A privately funded charity that operates a Christian rescue mission for those in need. Clothing, furniture, household goods and automobiles are being accepted to feed the hungry and others in need. To donate, call 912-232-1979.
The mission is conducting its annual “Christmas on the Corner” dinner for the less fortunate from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Christmas Day at 2414 Bull St. in Savannah. The public can also donate gifts at the dinner.
Savannah Feed the Hungry
Provides assistance to the homeless and low-income residents through food, clothing, hot meals and community involvement.
Unwrapped toys and monetary donations can be sent to: 4011 Augusta Road, Garden City, GA 31408.
For more details, call 912-349-0774.
American Red Cross
Provides emergency and disaster relief services as well as lifesaving classes.
Accepting financial donations to help local families who have lost their homes to fire or other disasters.
Area residents can send a financial donation of any size to: American Red Cross, Southeast Georgia Chapter, P.O. Box 9987, Savannah, GA 31412. For more information, call 912-651-5300.
Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire Inc.
Assists those with disabilities and other barriers to employment to become employed and live independently.
Goodwill is seeking clothing, household and automobile donations, as well as financial donations to fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges.
Clothing, household and electronic donations can be dropped off at any area donation center, retail location and drop boxes throughout the region. For locations or to make an online donation, go to goodwillsavannah.org/donate.
All Walks of Life (AWOL) Inc.
Provides arts and technology education for at-risk youth.
AWOL is accepting monetary donations to its 2K Strong campaign to fund performing arts program scholarships, a computer and computer software, snacks, T-shirts and staffing among other items.
Payments can be sent to AWOL All Walks of Life, Inc., P.O Box 15846, Savannah, GA 31416 or online at 2Kstrong.org. For more information, call 912-303-4987.
Greenbriar Children’s Center
Provides services that promote healthy development of children and the strengthening of families.
For more information, contact Stephanie Majors at 912-234-3431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Park Place Outreach Inc.
Provides emergency shelter, meals and counseling to at-risk youth and their families. Accepting gift cards and children’s gifts for boys and girls ages 11 to 17. Canned goods, paper products and food store gift cards are also accepted. Donations can be made to: Park Place Outreach, 514 E. Henry St., Savannah, GA 31401. For more information, call 912-234-4048.