Donation shortages could affect the most needy at Thanksgiving

imageAt the Midnight Mission, they’re gearing up for a huge Thanksgiving Day celebration aimed at providing a hearty meal for the homeless in the heart of Skid Row.

“We are like the mothers and the fathers of the people that no longer have that kind of network,” stresses Mai Lee, a spokesperson for The Midnight Mission.

But a big drop in donations due to the economic downturn is seriously affecting the work of many non-profit organizations whose priority is helping the less fortunate – particularly during the holiday season.

“We have been seeing about a 20 percent drop in donations overall and we have been seeing an 18 percent rise in the costs of meals alone,” shares Lee.

Many agencies are facing donation shortages and it’s likely to cause a chain reaction of need, as people seek help at other organizations they normally wouldn’t turn to.

Organizations such as the Midnight Mission will likely feel the impact of the shortage when people are turned away from other places because they don’t have enough food to provide to those in need.
“We would be in the same situation if we hadn’t of been better prepared,” says Lee.

Luckily, The Midnight Mission started preparing for the holidays over the summer.

“With The Midnight Mission, we start getting ready for the holiday season in June and we work with our community partners,” explains Lee. “We work with a variety of partners asking them if they will commit to getting all of the turkeys or will they commit to getting the hams.”

According to Lee, if a sponsor cannot commit to the full amount of an item, then the mission asks another organization if they can sponsor half of that item.

One factor has played a huge role in helping the mission thrive since 1914.

“Being that we are privately funded most of the impact due to budgetary crisis haven’t really impacted us in the sense that we are not receiving direct monies from the government,” Lee noted. “Our private donors and private dollars haven’t been impacted.”

This Thanksgiving, the mission is expecting roughly 2500 people to show up for their holiday celebration, but it is prepared to feed 4500 people.

“We understand that it takes everybody to roll up their sleeves and help and we can’t do this alone,” insists Lee. “However, we are committed as an organization to keeping our levels of services up to date because this is not the time to cut back in services, this is not the time to reduce service hours. This is when people need it the most.”

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