By Diana Rocco
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A call for donations.
Charities have serious concerns that they won’t have enough to make sure all families have the Christmas they deserve.
The Salvation Army and other local charities rely heavily, especially this time of year, on community donations, and they say the need is greater than ever. But many estimate giving to be down this year by as much as a third.
One week before Christmas, the toys have been bought, bagged, and boxed and are heading to more than 5,000 families throughout Philadelphia to go under the tree for a child on Christmas.
“The donations are coming in very slow. I’m not saying at the end of the season it might pick up, but right now they’re slow. Our kettles are slower,” Major Hester Dixon of the Salvation Army said.
Major Hester Dixon of the Salvation Army has been serving for 33 years. She says this is one of the hardest she’s seen yet.
“So many different kids of needs that people are taking their dollar and they’re stretching it,” Dixon said.
At the Chosen 300, they are operating on 10 percent less this year than last, but Executive Director Brian Jenkins says they’ve never seen more people walking through their door.
“We found that a lot of people had homes. They were coming here to eat a meal, but then also they were asking can we take some food home with us,” Jenkins said.
They feed hundreds of homeless nightly and feed families through their food pantry. At Christmas, the Chosen 300 hands out gifts to homeless and poor children in Center City, West Philadelphia and Pottstown who otherwise would go without.
“We’re way down in donations. Last year by this time we had more than enough toys to be able to provide for all of the children that needed service. This year we are way under,” Jenkins said.
If they’re not giving a child a gift, the money they receive is going to help parents put food on the table.
“A lot of these families, not only folks that are homeless, but also making that decision do I pay my rent, do I feed my children?” Jenkins said.
The Salvation Army says they are really needing monetary donations this time of year. Meanwhile the Chosen 300 is asking for toys for 150 kids ages three to 12 by Christmas Eve.