New Hampshire charities are struggling through a challenging season of giving that threatens to undermine services to needy people.
The Salvation Army of Derry, just two weeks from Christmas, is only halfway to a $200,000 goal.
“Our kettle numbers are really low,” Lt. Kiley Williams said. “We are supposed to raise $200,000. We are only at $100,000.”
The fund drive is intended to raise money to help the charity throughout the year.
“That’s a big problem for us. We have to pay rent,” Williams said. “It is very concerning.”
The concern is for the 280 children and more than 130 families the Salvation Army serves in Derry, Londonderry and Windham.
Tags are still on angel trees. Those tags bear the age, gender and wish list of a child. Donors “adopt” a child and fill all or some of their requests.
“Going through last night, there were a couple of kids that may not get anything,” Williams said.
Sonshine Soup Kitchen in Derry also is running behind with donations.
“We have been lagging,” executive director Cynthia Dwyer said yesterday.
She hasn’t done an accounting of giving yet, but said it is off. She’s hoping for a rebound in the next few weeks.
“I have my fingers crossed,” she said.
The soup kitchen is serving a historical high of 60 meals a day, Dwyer said.
“Whether we are serving one person or 100, it makes a big difference to the one or the 100 who may not have another meal source,” Dwyer said.
Financial help would make a difference for the soup kitchen.
“Cash is what’s needed right now,” she said. “It costs $12,000 a month to run the soup kitchen.”
The Derry News Santa Fund drive has raised only $3,400 toward a $22,500 goal.
Charity leaders say a combination of factors — including the economy and the shortest calendar possible between Thanksgiving and Christmas — are hurting efforts.