CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Volunteer Connie Cordova, left, hands Angel Tree gifts to Jaylyn Price, middle and Isaiah Sena Thursday at the Salvation Army.
Need rises around Christmas, but it doesn’t go away after the twinkle lights are taken down and the presents are opened.
United Way Executive Director Erinn Burch said the non-profit doesn’t directly provide for the needy around the holidays. The United Way of Eastern New Mexico funds as many local programs as it can. This year’s fundraising deadline is Jan. 21.
Burch said the organization has raised $390,000 and she hopes to finish with around $514,000. Burch said the organization raised $580,000 two years ago and the amount raised has dropped each year since.
“We’ve had a lot less money to work with in the community. Agencies just need more to work with, that’s the bottom line,” she said. “The need is out there, no doubt about that.”
Burch said the American Legion donated $5,000 toward the organization’s heater program, which provides heaters to families in need.
“There are plenty of families that just don’t have heat,” Burch said. “Either the gas has been turned off for one reason or another or the furnace has broken and they can’t afford to fix it. It’s a lot more common than we think.”
Burch said the heaters she wants, that include safety features such as cool touch and auto turn off settings, have been on back order and the organization will getting more soon.
Lighthouse Mission Director Jerri Gomez said donations have been good for the non-profit this year. The mission had a full dining room for their holiday meal Thursday.
“God has provided all we need through caring citizens,” Gomez said.
Gomez said that the mission is always looking for financial contributions and donations of food items, furniture and clothes because “hunger knows no season.”
Salvation Army Maj. Rachel Gallop said the non-profit’s Empty Stocking program has been well funded, with $7,500 being raised, just $1,500 short of the $9,000 goal.
The program provides Christmas presents for families who can’t afford them. The program ends Christmas Day.
“We have been able to provide everything for them,” Gallop said.
Gallop said their kettles have raised more than last year and several Angel Tree requests have been fulfilled.
“It’s been a good Christmas from our standpoint,” Gallop said.
Gallop said the Salvation Army Thrift Store can always be doing better.
“In the new year, we’re going to try to do a lot more advertising of things that like that to make it more profitable,” Gallop said.