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Local nonprofits seeing more need than donations this season

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 11:47 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - December is usually the biggest time of year for charity organizations.

The spirit of giving encourages more people to donate and allows these groups to put on events and host giveaways for those in need. But with the pandemic and labor shortages, some organizations are seeing fewer donations and volunteers than they usually do.

Christmas is two weeks away, and local nonprofits that help hundreds of families say this year they have more applications than donations.

“We always start out with the positive that we will be able to meet the needs of all the children that come for our help,” said Anne Woods, coordinator of Augusta Toys for Tots.

Augusta Toys for Tots says donations have been trickling in more slowly this year, but the need has increased.

“We need toys for children 8 years old and up. This year, we have families with 10 and 11 children, so that’s a greater challenge,” said Woods.

They have serviced about 252 families so far and still have a ways to go along with serving 38 schools and 24 organizations. Their mission is to grant each child on Christmas morning a new toy.

“We work day and night. ... We stay here as long as we have to to make sure the children get something for Christmas,” she said.

The Salvation Army of Augusta says it’s experiencing a shortage of volunteers and feeling the pinch to the bottom line from fewer bell ringers.

“We got 32 locations that were ringing the kettles at, and not all those are full. We’re doing all right, but we don’t have near as many as we would like to at this point,” said Chris Bailey marketing and public relations manager for the Salvation Army of Augusta.

Bailey says when there’s not a volunteer out there with the kettle, that kettle is not collecting money.

“What we’re looking at on our end is probably between $20,000 to $25,000 short of our goal for this season,” said Bailey. “That ringing the bell that can make a humongous difference in someone’s life who really needs it.”

“We just keep going keep grinding until we get it done,” said Woods.

Volunteers are vital at this point. One four-hour shift can provide 19 nights for someone in the Salvation Army shelter.

If you want to donate to Toys for Tots, you can drop off donations at 1545 15th St. or give money.

The Salvation Army is taking applications for volunteers at salvationarmyaugusta.org.

If you need toys for your kids, the annual James Brown toy giveaway is Dec. 18. The deadline to register has passed. Just like with their turkey giveaway – you needed to have signed up beforehand to be eligible.

In Burke County, they’re holding a toy drive Dec. 15 where each child will get one free toy. That will be at the Burke County Office Park.

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