Local donations sought during holiday season

Published 12:33 am Friday, December 16, 2011

Salvation Army employees Carolyn Reams (left) and Erica Lang sort through coats donated for children Thursday at a distribution center in Washington. (WDN Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

Some local charitable nonprofits are experiencing slight donation deficits this holiday season.

Leaders of these charities assign blame for the shortfalls to the continuing economic crisis and Hurricane Irene, which soaked up a lot of aid resources after its visit to the east Aug. 27.

Monetary donations to The Salvation Army’s Washington corps are running about $30,000 behind last year, explained Lt. Chris Lyles, corps commander.

This doesn’t apply to the famous Red Kettle contributions or the organization’s Angel Tree campaign, which routes toys and clothing to children, but to donations that usually get dropped off at the office or come in through the mail, Lyles related.

Yet, a number of checks are starting to filter in at the last minute, just in time for Christmas, he said.

Checks payable to the Washington corps may be sent to P.O. Box 877, Washington, NC 27889.

Donations also may be left with staff from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the corps offices, 112 E. Seventh St.

For more information, call the corps at 252-946-2523.

Eagle’s Wings, a food pantry based in Washington, also has needs this season.

“What we need is staples,” said Sally Love, executive director.

The pantry could use flour, salt, sugar, coffee and paper products, Love related.

“We’re doing pretty well with the vegetables and the meats,” she said.

And Eagle’s Wings always can use money, Love acknowledged. The pantry can purchase food for 19 cents a pound from the Food Bank of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, Love has said.

Eagle’s Wings has seen a significant increase in the numbers of families it serves.

The nonprofit provided food for 312 families in November 2010.

That number grew to 499 families in November of this year. Of those families, 100 were new to the organization.

“Part of that is the economy and part of it is Hurricane Irene,” Love said.

Referring to Eagle’s Wings’ food-delivery service, she said, “We had a whole route in Aurora that was completely wiped out.”

This route included seven households, all of which were flooded by Irene, according to Love.

To learn more about Eagle’s Wings and its needs, call 252-975-1138 or visit its website, www.eagles-wings.org.

One Washington charity that isn’t lacking in donations is the Zion Shelter and Kitchen, tucked into the basement of Metropolitan AME Zion Church.

“You’d be surprised with the way people have turned out this month to help the shelter,” said Robert Harris, executive director. “My pantries are filled.”

The shelter houses eight to 10 people on any given night, and its kitchen serves about 50 lunches per day, Mondays through Fridays, Harris said.

“The only thing we’re short of is financing,” he said. “We never have enough of that.”

Donations may be sent to Zion Shelter and Kitchen, 114 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Washington, NC 27889.