Local Charities Need Our Help

Local charities served more people in need than ever before this past year and now, as we prepare to enter a New Year, they need as much help and money as ever.

Still, there still is optimism that at least some of those goals will be met in the next few weeks.

Gary Kuerter stopped by Goodwill to make a donation.

He dropped off some items his mother didn't need any more.

"Whenever we have something that doesn't fit anymore or we're not using it we usually give it to the Goodwill," he said.

A lot of other people had the same thought.

Not only can we unload some of the items we no longer want or need, we're getting a tax break as well.

And best of all, we're helping out people in need when we donate.

"All the items that are brought in to Goodwill help support our programs of people with disabilities and disadvantages," Kris Pachunka of Goodwill Industries, Inc said. "In 2011, Goodwill has helped over 10,000 people because of the support of the community."

And there's some pretty high quality items coming in for someone else to enjoy.

"They (donors) don't give us junk," Pachunka said. "We ask people to give us things they would give a friend."

The bells of the Salvation Army are now quiet around area stores, but the high profile 'Tree of Lights' campaign continues.

But the campaign is only at about 80 percent of its goal and is roughly $600,000 short. They are confident that the people of the metro area will come through.

"We're cautiously optimistic," Joanne Bemis of the Salvation Army said.

She said all of the money donated stays in the Omaha area serving 22 social service programs.

"Our programs range from feeding people all the way though to helping house the homeless so we have a wide cadre of programs that need the community's support," she said. "When you make a contribution to the Salvation Army's 'Tree of Lights Campaign, you're making an investment in our community."

That's an investment all of us can take an active part in.

The Siena Francis House is another area charity in need, but their requests are a little different.

They need cleaning products and toiletries.

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