With Christmas only a week away, the Genesee County Salvation Army is facing a critical time crunch to get the food and others items to families who need them. To say they are coming up short on donations this year, in this economy, is an understatement.
Plus, there's a dearth of bell-ringers, so that's taken a bite out of the Salvation Army's holiday charity campaign.
There are 750 local families who've applied for assistance, and plenty more on a waiting list.
"It's the working families who are really getting squeezed," said Capt. Patty Kurtz, "'the working poor' as the government calls them, are the majority of those who applied this year."
She said the charity used the bulk of its $15,000 Genesee County food budget to buy grocery store gift certificates this year. It also allows families to buy a turkey, ham or whatever for Christmas dinner, and stretches their food budget at a time when their kids are on winter break for two weeks.
The Salvation Army has stocked food items too, of course, with help from Batavia-based business Holiday Ice, which it will start giving out, along with the gift cards, to those on the list beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday, and again on Tuesday. That'll be at headquarters, 529 E. Main St., in the City of Batavia.
Between now and then, food donations would be super appreciated. Can anybody spare a frozen turkey -- like today or tommorrow?
There were 150 of the birds donated and given out at Thanksgiving. For Christmas, they have about 200 on hand, far below what 750-plus families could enjoy.
"It would be ideal if we could (at least) give every family a turkey," said Kurtz, who is called "Captain Patty."
P.S. -- The Salvation Army's winterwear drive lasts all season long. So if you have gently used coats, sweaters, scarves, mittens, gloves, hats, etc. there are people in Genesee County who could sure use them.
To contact the Salvation Army in Batavia, call 343-6284. E-mail Capt. Patty at firstname.lastname@example.org.