Economic Crisis Impacts Local Non-Profit Agencies

October 13, 2008 8:44:27 PM PDT
Those tough times are being felt by non-profit organizations all over the country, including here in the central valley.It's lunch time at Fresno's Poverello House ... Tossed salad, hamburger stew and mashed potatoes are piled onto each plate. Before the day is over 1400 people will come through the doors.

Kathryn Weakland of the Poverello House said, "We see more working poor today than we ever have."

Poverello Community Relations Director Kathryn Weakland says longtime sources of donations are drying up and more families need help. Weakland has had to get creative.

Weakland said, "I spent some time last week out at the fair to see if there were some people who wanted to make a donation of cattle, lamb and this morning we got a call and had two lambs donated."

Most of those who eat meals at the Poverello House have nowhere else to go. People like John Burrola Jr. and Jessica Haddon at one time depended on the Poverello just to exist

Jessica Haddon said, "They helped me with my medication for mental health they've helped me out a lot ... if it weren't for them I'd be dead by now."

A few miles away at Catholic Charities daily food baskets are often gone by noon.

Lydia Gutierrez of Catholic Charities said, "It's not a pleasant situation to be in where you cannot provide services to everyone ... but there's no way we can meet the demand."

Catholic Charities is one of many non-profits facing a nearly empty warehouse. The Community Food Bank has mostly liquid in storage. They've had to spend 97 thousand dollars for holiday food baskets ... They still need 150-thousand dollars for regular food giveaways. Last year the Community Food Bank handed out 1800 holiday baskets ... This year they plan to give out 6000

One area in which non-profits don't seem to be lacking is in volunteers. Even families that are having trouble making ends meet are still happy to help out.

Kathryn Weakland said, "Every single person in this community has the wherewithal to do just a little and a little always makes up to a lot."

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