Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Charities Here Find Fund Drives Lagging Behind Last Year's Pace

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Charities Here Find Fund Drives Lagging Behind Last Year's Pace

Article excerpt

Charitable agencies are clanging the bell louder this holiday season but fewer donors are hearing it.

The agencies say the massive flood relief has taken the edge off Christmas giving.

The Salvation Army's Tree of Lights drive is flickering behind last year's pace with $1,847,872, or 54 percent of its $3.4 million goal in hand. Last year at this point the campaign had raised $1,879,651, or 58 percent of a $3.15 million goal.

Corporate support and large individual donations are down because of the heavy giving during the flood and its aftermath. So the Tree of Lights has leaned on many more smaller contributors. Kettle donations are up $10,000 over last year - to $333,000 as of Friday.

"It's important, though, not to get tied up with the numbers," said the Salvation Army's development director, Doug McDaniel. "What really counts is that the people out there who need our help get it. People should understand that the Tree of Lights is not a one-shot thing like flood relief but is the main funding source for all our other programs throughout the year."

These include food, clothing, housing, emergency shelter services, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, treatment for abused and neglected children, day care, education and life skills training.

The Post-Dispatch's 100 NEEDIEST CASES campaign has collected $721,824 so far for the more than 13,000 needy cases on its Christmas rolls. But this is still about $20,000 off last year's pace, said director Betty Sievert.

"I think definitely that the flood has been a factor. People have only so much they can give and many have already given it to the flood victims," Sievert said.

The Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program is 25,000 toys short of its goal of 100,000 toys and has told 32 of the 150 churches and agencies it supplies that they probably will not be receiving toys this year. …

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