WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 25, 2009, 10:00 AM

Charities Gearing Up for Holiday Season

Area charities say more local families will be asking for help this holiday season.

By: Casey Wonnenberg, WDAZ

Area charities say more local families will be asking for help this holiday season.

They've seen an increase of families in need this year and say it will carry on into Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Soon scarecrows will be replaced by Santas as the holiday season is right around the corner. But some area families might be feeling more stress than holiday joy.

JoAnn Brundin: "We're expecting to see a lot more come through our food pantry, and the numbers there are continuing to grow."

JoAnn Brundin, the executive director of Saint Vincent De Paul in Grand Forks, says they're seeing a 12 to 15 percent increase in people using the food pantry.

JoAnn Brundin: "We've spent about four times already what we've spent in previous years."

And Brundin says that will most likely carry into the holiday season.

JoAnn Brundin: "We're still continuing to see people that we've never seen before come through our food pantry."

Here at the Salvation Army, they've also seen an increase in the number of people needing help. Over the last six months, 30 percent more people used its services.

Maj. Ed Wilson: "We're expecting for Christmas maybe not 30 percent, but we'll definitely have an increase this year."

The Salvation Army will also be trying to ring in more cash to help those in need. This year the army raised its Christmas goal to more than 267 thousand. That's up more than 11 thousand from last year.

Maj. Ed Wilson: "We've increased it knowing that we do have some increases in requests this year."

They're also hoping to raise more through other the coat drive being held this week.

Maj. Ed Wilson: "There are some in our community that are hurting financially, and we just want to make sure that we give them the best Christmas we can this year."

Because with the holiday season...also comes the cold. Charities in the area are hoping their services won't only make the cold more bearable...but also bring some warmth to the hearts of children this Christmas.

JoAnn Brundin: "As mothers and parents, the kids come first. We buy for them, and some parents can't even do that. I think the goal of not only our agency, but many agencies around town is to get the kids taken care of, to get them gifts and clothing and things that they need."