Reno Charity Check: 2012 a Good Year, But Not For All
It was feast or famine for local charities this year. At the same time they work to make the holidays cheerier for the valley's neediest residents, some local charities are enjoying increased donations, while others are trying to make do with less. Put Reno's Volunteers of America in the happy column. The VOS's Sandy Isham told us, "I would say that we are 10% ahead of last year."
The Volunteers of America offers shelter for Reno's homeless, about 300 people every day, along with counseling and other support services. While we were there at their headquarters on Record St., the donations still were coming in…a truckload of toys from a $1,000 spending spree from the Robert C. Maddox and Associates law firm. The donation jump comes just in time…the numbers of those in need are also up and more families need help. Sandy calls it a wash. As she put it, "I would say donations are keeping pace so far with the need...but the work never stops."
Out at their headquarters on Sutro St., the Salvation Army has not been so lucky. This worthy non-profit tells us there's been a double digit decrease this year in food donations, toy donations, and even the cash they take in from those red kettles. Major Michael Zielinski told us, "At this point in time we're 13 and a half percent behind last year."
The major says that decrease comes from fewer shoppers going to stores this holiday season. "In talking with various merchants and retailers, they observed that after Thanksgiving the shoppers were up, and then this last week they evaporated." It's all very important. The local Salvation Army provides holiday meals for about 3,500 local families, toys for more than 11,000 children and gift cards for about 450 teenagers. The woes have spread to their holiday food and toy donation programs…both are down this year.
Next stop, the United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra, where 2012 is a year to celebrate. The United Way's Monica Cochran told us, "Our giving in 2012 is slightly up compared to the same time last year." Cochran told us they started the year with a goal to be 12% in giving over 2011, and they're meeting it in this economy. "Yes, we are meeting our goal of 12% over the year before." For the United Way, 2007, 2008 and 2009 were not as good. They say this year was part of the rebuild.
In all 3 cases, the more they receive, the more they can give out. They're all hoping for a bountiful 2013.