DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

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January 9, 2014

Donations down for area organizations

Holiday giving was down and the need continues

(Continued)

Fran Gray, 93, always visits the center on Saturday, and wants to help, always bringing along donations to drop off before her own shopping begins.

“The people that work here, they’ve been like our family,” Gray said.

The Salvation Army also felt the pinch this season with donations down not only with the familiar red kettle campaign, but also with fewer children receiving help through the Angel Tag program.

Salvation Army officials participated in a last-minute, 24-hour kettle drive to bring in much-needed money before the holidays ended.

“We raised $173,000, but our goal was $220,000,” Lt. Kiley Williams said.

She said the Salvation Army nationally saw less money donated.

“That hurts us,” Williams said. “This is the money that helps within the community and with less money, cuts will have to be made.”

She said the shorter time between Thanksgiving and Christmas may have been a factor.

“The weather also plays a factor,” she said, “and even with people carrying less cash and more credit cards, that is also a factor.”

Some organizations report the season was a good one. Warm Homes in Londonderry offers fuel assistance to those in need and organizers said donations were steady.

“We have a great working relationship with the town of Londonderry’s welfare contractor Community Health Services,” Warm Homes’ leader Kathy Wagner said. “We also work with Londonderry organizations and churches in the town. Since Warm Homes is a onetime assistance program for Londonderry residents only, our resources go much further.”

The Sonshine Soup Kitchen works to feed the hungry on a daily basis and depends on volunteers and donations.

Five days a week, roughly 45 people eat at the Derry soup kitchen. That’s up from about 40 a day in November, executive director Cynthia Dwyer said.

The kitchen is housed in the basement of First Baptist Church. Next door, the First Baptist food pantry tries to keep its shelves stocked with food.

Donations haven’t decreased yet, Dwyer said, but that will probably change come mid-January.

“It will slow down pretty quickly,” she said. “We will have to live off the fat for a while.”

Staff writer Doug Ireland contributed to this story

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