Holiday donations help hundreds in Northwest Indiana
BY AMY LAVALLEY Post-Tribune correspondent January 12, 2014 2:50PM
Updated: January 20, 2014 4:01PM
The Post-Tribune’s Empty Stocking Fund, a staple for assisting low-income families for the holidays through the region’s Boys and Girls Clubs, netted $3,836 in December.
Donations to the program were down about $500 from 2012, but the fund still met its goal of helping families provide a Christmas for their children.
“Thanks to the Empty Stocking Fund, we were able to make the holidays brighter for 16 of our club members and provide membership assistance for 26 additional children who need us most,” said Cathie Dull, assistant director of resource development for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Porter County.
For the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana, which serves Lake County, the fund assisted six families for the holidays, and another three families will receive money for groceries and common necessities that most people take for granted, said Megan Henning, the marketing manager there.
Other agencies, including the Salvation Army and the United Way, both in Porter County, report charitable donations are up.
The Salvation Army had a strong season for its Red Kettle Campaign. A companion mail-in drive is under way through the end of the month, but is showing good results as well.
“This year is a record over the last 10 years of kettles,” said Maj. Jon Welch.
The kettle campaign, which had a goal of $150,000, has brought in $143,246, though additional donations are still being tallied. Welch also expects to get an appraisal next week of a gold coin dropped into a kettle on Dec. 21 in Valparaiso.
“That’s still pretty close. I’m pretty pleased with that,” he said.
The mail-in goal is $280,000 and has brought in $255,034 so far. The local Salvation Army’s divisional headquarters has a contingency plan for how the local agency can adjust its budget if it comes up short.
Welch doesn’t think that will be a problem.
“Right now it looks like a shortfall but money is still coming in. We may not need the contingency,” he said, adding the agency shouldn’t have to cut services.
The agency provided about 770 children on its “angel tree” with toys and clothes, as well as with food for their families this holiday season.
“In those terms, I think it was a very successful season for helping people in need,” he said.
On a larger scale, the United Way of Porter County’s annual capital campaign appears to be on target to meet its goal of $1.8 million by March 10.
While donations from some local businesses are down a bit, Melissa Castle-Kirincic, the agency’s resource development director, thinks others will make up the difference.
“Overall, things are up,” she said.