The Salvation Army of Tiffin/Seneca County is experiencing a severe drop in donations leading into the Christmas holiday season, organization officials reported.
"Christmas is a critical time for us to raise the funds that we need all year round to help people who are suffering from poverty and hunger, particularly given current economic conditions," said Captain Jerry Uttley. "Without the bump in funding that we get at this time of year, the people we serve could end up suffering even more. That would be heartbreaking."
Often, the help people receive from The Salvation Army enables them to make ends meet, stay in their homes and work toward a brighter future.
The drop in funding comes at a time when the need for the programs and services is greater than ever, he said. While The Salvation Army typically serves greater numbers of people at Christmas, the need has significantly increased because of continued high levels of unemployment, business closings and home foreclosures.
People who may have donated to charities before the econimic downturn now find themselves needing assistance to feed their families, pay rent and utility bills, buy prescription medicines and purchase other necessities.
In addition to the newly poor, people who have been struggling for years suffer even more.
"The Salvation Army relies on our community - our neighbors - for their support to do the work we are called to do helping people in need regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background," Uttley said. "As people receive assistance from The Salvation Army and gain a sense of renewed hope, they and their families grow stronger, making our communities better places to live and raise families. The Salvation Army's impact is vital."