For those in need, many charitable organizations are the ones that give back to the community. Sometimes these organizations need help. Many local organizations this year are still looking for donations for the upcoming holiday season, including two local organizations that help feed and give presents to families.
The Rural Ministry gives out food baskets at the holiday season and is still in need of donations. Items needed for these baskets include canned fruit, juice, turkey or ham and boxed desserts, according to Rural Ministry Executive Director Kathleen Peterson.
"It's definitely struggling times for many. Chautauqua County Rural Ministry has seen so many new faces, people who have never had to utilize our services before," Peterson said.
OBSERVER Photo by Matt Panebianco
Housing Coordinator and Weekend Supervisor Winifred Jones stands next to some of the donations at the Rural Ministry in Dunkirk.
In addition to holiday baskets, Rural Ministry also gives out toys to children in need. According to Peterson, the organization needs close to 1,000 toys.
"Currently we have approximately 275 children and we provide three gifts per child, needing about 900 toys," she said.
Toys that are still needed, according to Peterson, are Barbie dolls and accessories, baby dolls, Legos, an Easy Bake oven, Dora the Explorer toys, arts and craft items, footballs, basketballs, cars, trucks, action figurines, board games, Transformers, musical toys, puzzles, a radio/CD player, costume jewelry, coloring books and crayons.
Rural Ministry will be packaging dinner boxes the week of Dec. 17 through 21. All donations can be dropped at the Rural Ministry warehouse at 121 Central Ave. The Rural Ministry will also offer a traditional Christmas meal on Dec. 25 from noon to 2 p.m.
"The support from the community thus far has been tremendous. We have received generous donations from local churches, individuals, civic organizations and businesses for which we are so grateful but have not yet been able to meet the unmet need," Peterson said. "Those who are more fortunate than others have taken their personal treasures and given to someone less fortunate. It's truly amazing to see the philanthropy in our community."
The Silver Creek Food Pantry is also in need of donations this holiday season. Director Colleen McKenna said the pantry is receiving less donations, both monetary and food, this year.
"I know that we're not getting as many checks from the community that we usually do," McKenna said.
Food donations from both the Boy Scouts and Mail Carrier food drives did not have much success this year compared to others. According to McKenna, these two food drives are something the pantry counts on. The rising cost of food is relevant to the declining donation amount, McKenna said.
"I think just because food is getting so expensive, people don't have the extra to give out what they had before," she said.
Each year, the food pantry distributes holiday baskets before Christmas. This year the pantry gave out 125 baskets. The Silver Creek Food Pantry did receive a donation from the First United Presbyterian Church of Silver Creek for $1,000 which helped buy food for the baskets and other donations were given to fill over 120 baskets which were distributed Saturday.
While the Christmas baskets are over, the food pantry will be open after the holiday season and will still need more donations to help feed those who may be having a difficult time.
"We have Christmas covered but the week after Christmas we're going to have hungry people," McKenna said. "I think people open their hearts more at Christmas, the season of giving, but once Christmas is over they kind of forget we still have these people that need to be fed."
McKenna said the pantry will need "staple items" such as tuna, cereal, peanut butter, personal hygiene products and cleaning products. The pantry supplies hygiene products and cleaning supplies to families because those products get forgotten when trying to make ends meet.
"If you're looking to cut corners and paying your bills, shampoo, deodorant, laundry detergent, toilet paper gets too expensive," McKenna said.
Donations for the Silver Creek Food Pantry can be dropped off at the pantry located at 260 Central Ave. Hours of operation are Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon, Thursdays 5 to 7:30 p.m. or the third Friday of the month 6 to 7:30 p.m. For questions, contact McKenna at 934-4570. Monetary donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 173, Silver Creek, NY 14136.
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