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Charitable holiday giving on pace, but demand has increased
Yuba-Sutter area charities said they are seeing reason for the season to be bright, with charitable giving on pace to meet or exceed what has been donated in recent years.
But do not count on surpluses once the holidays are over, as officials at the charities said they are also seeing an increase in demand in recent months.
At Yuba-Sutter United Way, Executive Director Caitlyn Teller Stephen said donations for the not-for-profit group's annual turkey drive for Thanksgiving dinners for the needy allowed volunteers to give out twice as many items as a year ago, when they met a goal of 300.
"The need's grown as well," she said, adding while holiday donations often spike, the charity's donations are down for the entire year.
Officials at Hands of Hope, a Yuba City charity aimed at helping the homeless get back on their feet, were still beaming this week over donations of snacks, food staples, laundry detergent, toiletries and other items received from the Sutter High School varsity football team.
Board president Barbara Paterson said the donations will not be around long.
"It's just everything we go through all the time," she said.
Her group, which formed four years ago, has steadily increased how many it serves, both as word has spread and through referrals from other agencies. Hands of Hope is assisting about 200 families, 600 single adults and 400 children, she said. The best illustration for growth comes from the group's on-site washing machines. In 2011, they saw just over 5,700 loads of clothes; this year, Paterson said, they were nearing that figure by the end of September.
Much of the increase comes from new families where a parent lost a job and has since exhausted unemployment benefits, she said.
Chaya Galicia, development assistant at the Salvation Army, Yuba-Sutter Corps, said directors believe they are seeing a 20 percent increase in demand for similar reasons.
"Food goes out almost as fast as it comes in," she said of the charity's warehouse.
In addition to food baskets, Salvation Army is involved with the CHP's Chips for Kids toy drive, "Angel Tree" gift drop-off sites, and the venerable red kettle donations.
Galicia said with the latter, Salvation Army is on pace to meet its target of $90,000 by Christmas, though wet weather could make doing so more difficult.
Chips for Kids, which collects toys and clothes to give to underprivileged youngsters, is a bit off the pace so far, said Jodie Beck, a spokeswoman for the Yuba-Sutter CHP office.
If there is a late influx this year, as there was last year, there should be plenty, she said.
As Christmas gets closer, most working in the various local charity drives said they believe people will deliver.
"So many wonderful people step up this time of year," said Paterson.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.