Nonprofits get creative in weathering current economic storm

The Garden City Rescue Mission is trying a new pledge partner program as an alternative way to raise money. (WRDW-TV / Oct. 10, 2011)

The Garden City Rescue Mission is trying a new pledge partner program as an alternative way to raise money. (WRDW-TV / Oct. 10, 2011)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Oct. 10, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The holidays are not too far away and that means the season of giving is almost here. However, it doesn't mean it's always a good season for charities.

"We're surviving. Our funds are down right now. Our donations are down," said Keith Pope, who helps run the Garden City Rescue Mission.

They aren't the only ones having issues with the economy. The American Legion is, too.

"We're not making money out of bingo," said Fred Zamora, American Legion Post 205 commander.

The Legion Post 205 hosts bingo on Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons, but they've seen about half the number of participants they usually see. Fred says that's not good because they host Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for veterans.

"The more money we have in our possession, the more things we can do for the veterans and their families," he said.

The Garden City Rescue Mission helps the homeless and expects to see an increase in donations over the next few weeks.

"We'll see a small spike, but with that small spike of donations, our men and women, our quantities on them spike, too," Pope explained.

And to try to meet their budget requirements, Pope and the Garden City Rescue Mission are trying new ideas.

"It's called a pledge partner program. We're trying to get 500 people to pledge $500 a month," Keith explained. "We're just trying to get creative. A lot of people can't come up with $100 or $200 donations, but now what we're doing is only $10 a month."

It's a way for the rescue mission to make ends meet without having to turn folks away, and not turning folks away is something the American Legion prides itself on as well.

"Nobody is going to be turned away," Zamora said. "Everybody [that] comes, they're going to get something to eat."

Still, these organizations say if they're going to continue helping people, it comes down to one thing.

"Even if they have jobs, they're not getting the overtime. They're not making the money they used to, and the first thing you have to do is survive and pay your own bills," Zamora said.

"I'd like to see people get jobs so they come spend money," he told News 12.

If you want to help the Garden City Rescue Mission, click here. There, you'll be linked to the mission's site where you can become a pledge partner.

If you want to help out the American Legion Post 205, you can make a donation or play bingo on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. or Saturdays at 1 p.m.


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