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Yuba-Sutter charities short on funds
• The Salvation Army: Donations of canned goods and other nonperishable items accepted from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday at 401 Del Norte Ave.
• St. Isidore's Food Locker accepts donations from 9 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays in the portable behind the church on Clark Avenue.
• The Gleaners accepts money, food and other items from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday at 760 Stafford Way.
• Christian Assistance Network accepts both perishable and non-perishable items from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 232 Teegarden Ave.
• Crossroads Community Church's clothes closet, 445 B St. Open weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each person gets 15 minutes to chose as many items as they want, no cost. Donations accepted.
Through a network of 29 local agencies, the United Way serves about 25,000 people monthly in Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties, with an additional 32,500 served monthly in Yuba and Sutter counties through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.
Difficult economic conditions in the United States continue to trickle down, and finding the resources to feed hungry residents of Yuba-Sutter remains a struggle.
At least two local charitable organizations said they think the federal government is to blame for the slide, due to fewer funds coming in for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Congress created the program to help feed the hungry and homeless through the allocation of federal funds.
Caitlyn Zeller-Stephen, executive director for the Yuba-Sutter United Way since June 2011, said the group just received the Phase 30 announcement from the program, which is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Phase 30 was delayed, and the previous one, Phase 29 was cut by 40 percent.
"Because of Congress not setting the budget, the funding didn't come down. This funding period that we just got approved for was for the year 2012, but that's not coming until about February," Zeller-Stephen said Tuesday.
The Yuba-Sutter United Way was allocated $51,000 for Yuba County and $80,000 for Sutter County.
Zeller-Stephen said once Congress passes the budget, the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board has a formula it uses to determine amounts for counties, including factors like housing needs and unemployment. This year, Yuba County will receive $49,378 and Sutter County is slated for $79,545. All the funds go toward local agencies providing food and shelter.
"One misconception is that it goes to disaster emergencies, which is not true. This is for everyday need," Zeller-Stephen said.
The Christian Assistance Network operates the Interfaith Service Bureau closet, on Teegarden Avenue in Yuba City. Head coordinator Larry Garvin echoed the sentiment regarding the national program, and said the government hasn't provided a formal reason behind it. "We used to be getting a substantial amount for food, and that's been cut at least two-thirds," Garvin said.
At the clothing distribution center on Tuesday was Yuba City resident Stacie Urbina, 33, who was busy searching for clothes and shoes for her and her three children.
"Everybody (my kids) needed clothes and shoes. It is hard to find clothes for my 8- and 12-year-old sons," Urbina said. It was her first time taking advantage of the services CAN offers.
Despite what is happening on the federal level, the United Way, Christian Assistance Network and the Yuba-Sutter Salvation Army are grateful for residents who donate food, funds and their time.
Capt. Tom Stambaugh of the Yuba-Sutter Salvation Army said the Christmas bell-ringing campaign was successful, meeting the organization's goal of $84,000.
CAN head coordinator Larry Garvin credits Yuba-Sutter Transit, the Boy Scouts and the US Postal Service for helping out with food drives, along with Yuba City High alumnus and Oakland Athletics prospect Max Stassi, who organizes the annual Homers for the Hungry.
Eighty volunteers showed up for the United Way's Day of Action, Zeller-Stephen said, and there were at least 150 volunteers working with the organization.
Since the beginning of the year, the Yuba-Sutter Salvation Army has received more than 100 requests for food, said Capt. Tom Stambaugh of the Yuba-Sutter Salvation Army. Although the food pantry is full now because of Christmas donations, he said shelves start to go bare in mid-February or March.
Meanwhile, donations for Christian Assistance Network, especially from churches, have been down over the previous year, CAN head coordinator Larry Garvin said. "Some churches in fact had to curtail their support entirely because of the economy and everything going on," he said.
As for Yuba-Sutter United Way, Executive Director Caitlyn Zeller-Stephen said calls for assistance have "definitely shot up."
"People are losing their homes, jobs, literally living in the streets or in the river bottoms for transitional housing. It's devastating," she said.
CONTACT Laura van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4771. Find her on Facebook at /ADlvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADlvandermeer.