GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Non-profits across Southern Oregon are pinching pennies, scraping for money and food to provide for the families most in need. Despite a positive economic outlook in some industries, non-profit organizations are still feeling the real effects of a down economy.
On a busy day, the soup kitchen at St. Vincent de Paul will serve up to 160 people; compare that to just months ago, when that number was 75. The kitchen has the food, but what it needs is cash.
“We’re short $2,000, says Patricia Kissinger, the president at St. Vincent de Paul Kitchen. “We’re really just going to have to go month by month.”
“Month to month” is a concept many Southern Oregon families have gotten used to since the economy took a downward turn in 2008.
“The struggles are still there,” says Dee Anne Everson, the Executive Director of United Way, “and now because of the length of the recession, the struggles are bigger, and people in need are in greater need; we have people that have been unemployed for years now.”
For all of those years, non-profit organizations, prepared to only give short-term emergency assistance, are being stretched thin.
“Like Salvation Army, it’s been harder and harder for to sustain the help that they provide because people have been in trouble longer,” Everson says.
Just last month the Salvation Army ran out of food. ACCESS, also being hit hard, reported helping nearly 4,000 families in March. That’s the largest number in that organization’s history; showing more people are reaching out for help.
“We’ve bumped along the bottom for longer than we thought was possible, and in doing that, it made families exhaust their retirement accounts if they’ve been long term unemployed,” says Everson.
To donate to the Saint Vincent de Paul soup kitchen in Grants Pass, contact the kitchen. To help with the Salvation Army’s food need, you can take part in Saturday’s food project. As part of the neighborhood-based food collection, volunteers will come to your home to pick up donations.