Holidays are over, but needs remain for charities

Posted: Jan. 12, 2013 3:35 pm Updated: Jan. 26, 2013 7:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The holidays have come and gone, but the needs remain.

"Need knows no season," said Patty Douglas, the development director for the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army and other outlets are hoping the annual goodwill shown toward various local campaigns to supplement assistance to those in need does not fall off just because the Christmas season has passed.

"The holidays are the time when people always think about the needs of others, but sometimes after the holidays they may forget those same needs are still there," Douglas said.

Elizabeth Flynn is the Salvation Army's regional family services manager and said community needs continue to mount.

"The need is there more than ever, and it is constant," she said.

Flynn said the Salvation Army sees between 150 to 250 new people each month in need of food, financial or other assistance.

Flynn said that despite all of the added holiday donations around Christmas, the Salvation Army was still "swamped" with people seeking help.

Right now, Flynn said the Salvation Army's food pantry is well stocked, heightened by above-average assistance during the holiday season.

"But it will dissipate very quickly," she said.

The Rev. Bill Barker of LifePoint Bible Church in Quincy has been involved for several years with Horizons, a social service organization that, among other things, provides meals and clothing to people in need.

"Horizons helped 170 different families in November, and that number will be even higher in December once we get the final numbers," Barker said. "We're definitely seeing an uptick in need."

Bruce Freeman, who coordinates the benevolence outreach ministry for The Crossing non-denominational megachuch in Quincy and its six satellite campuses in the region, says requests for assistance are always increasing, but so is the giving.

"It's just so ... cool," Freeman said.. "Every month (what is needed) seems to come in and the need gets met."

Freeman says the church's food pantries in Quincy, Macomb, Kirksville, Hannibal and Pittsfield are "cleaned out every month," but ample donations continue to flow. He said the church's food pantries in West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri are especially important because those towns do not have as many of those kind of outlets to help people as Quincy does.

"The consistency of the giving of the people at (The Crossing) has been great," Freeman said. "Part of the reason to help people goes beyond the dollars and cents. We sit and talk with each person that comes through our doors for assistance.

"We want them to know that we do care about them."