Some Valley non-profits see drop in donations

MERCED, Calif.

Scott Ables came to catholic charities in Merced Monday with just a simple request, a collared shirt he could wear to job interviews.

"There's a lot of us out there who are trying to better ourselves, and we still do need the help," Scott Ables from Merced said.

Along with clothing, the non-profit also has a food pantry and provides financial help when possible for utility bills and other expenses. Site Director Sandra Leon-Alfaro is trying to raise $800 to help a woman with cancer cremate her husband.

"The wife is beside herself. She's very ill. That was her support person, and he died in his sleep," Leon-Alfaro said.

But Leon-Alfaro said this month is typically the most difficult because people give and spend so much during the holidays.

"Donations go up, from October through November into December, and then come January, woop! It goes down," Leon-Alfaro said

Other non-profits are also concerned about a new year drop in donations, including the Merced Rescue Mission. Staff members collected enough food to feed thousands of people during their annual Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, but now the shelves are once again sparse.

"We depend solely on donations, so what people give is what we have to operate on. Oftentimes we look in the cupboards and say what do we have in the cupboard? That's what we'll be cooking for dinner," Merced Rescue Mission CEO Bruce Metcalf said.

The mission serves three meals a day, seven days a week and offers faith-based recovery services. Armando Saenz graduated from the program, and now works as the mission's director of operations.

He said the chance for a better life would not be possible without continued support from the community.

"Every little bit helps, and it really does make a difference when they do come and donate to us," Saenz said.

The rescue mission says it always appreciates canned food, but some of the most desired items are peanut butter and jelly.

If you'd like to donate to the mission or to catholic charities click here.

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