Archive for Thursday, December 11, 2008

Assistance programs see spike

December 11, 2008

Assistance programs in Leavenworth County are seeing the effects of the nation’s recession up close and are reporting increased numbers of people seeking assistance this time of year than in previous years.

“It’s the job situation, most definitely,” said Karen Blanchard, a volunteer with the Leavenworth Assistance Center. “People come in and say they just lost their job or their husband did. A couple times it’s been both who lost jobs.”

Blanchard said the center had more people asking for help now then at the same time last year. And, she added, the real rush will be coming in the next couple of weeks, which has the center concerned about its available resources.

“Everything is down,” Blanchard said. “Donations of food and toys. We’re concerned because we are already ahead, and the influx hasn’t even hit yet.”

The Leavenworth Assistance Center provides food and clothing on a year-round basis for people within Leavenworth County. At Christmas time, the center expands its service to include toys for children.

Blanchard said that the center had been concerned about its resources for some time.

A similar situation is taking place at the Leavenworth Salvation Army. Last year, the center helped 240 families through its Christmas assistance program. As of Monday, 205 applications had been received.

“We’re still taking applications right now, and we’re at just about 200,” said Salvation Army captain Mark Nance. “We’ll probably be close to 300 before it’s all over.”

Nance said he was optimistic that the agency would make it through the season. While the local United Way fundraiser that donates to the center didn’t make its goal for the year, Nance said they still had the red kettles outside businesses, which should collect about $66,000.

Nance does have concern over the Salvation Army’s Angel tree. The tree holds lists of items that children requested or need for Christmas that can be bought by people who want to help. Nance said quite a few angels remained on the tree and he was hoping people decide to come in and help.

“We still have a long way to go and short time to get there,” he said. “But we are confident in the Leavenworth community. They have always come through for us, so we’re confident it will happen again.”

Both the Leavenworth Salvation Army and Leavenworth Assistance Center are still accepting donations. The Salvation Army is located at 600 Walnut, Leavenworth, and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Leavenworth Assistance Center is located at 426 Miami, Leavenworth, and is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

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