WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita charities are struggling to help all of those in need after receiving fewer donations.
“We have so many more needs in our community today, but the resources are missing,” said Wichita Salvation Army Commander Major Joseph Wheeler.
Millions of people hit the stores on Black Friday spending an estimated $5 billion and another estimated $6.59 billion on Cyber Monday. Wheeler said the Salvation Army hoped to cash in on Giving Tuesday.
“The question was asked of me, what keeps you awake at night and it didn’t take me very long to realize that the thing that kept me awake at night is trying to do more with less,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler said Wichita’s Salvation Army is down about $80,000 in donations compared to November of 2016. Wheeler said monetary donations are not all that have lacked. He said the 2017 coat drive suffered too.
“We did have fewer donations of the larger items which is coats,” Wheeler said. “We ran low within 10 days we started taking applications. Last year, we were able to have coats available all three weeks of our application process and within the first two weeks we were pretty much done.”
The Treehouse, a non-profit charitable ministry dedicated to assisting mothers and their babies, is also struggling to get donations.
“Right now we are really low. Our bins in the back are pretty empty right now and we still have a lot of winter left,” said Treehouse volunteer Rachel Mull.
The Treehouse serves several hundred referred mothers and their kids each year. The organization offers education, gently-used clothing, diapers and formula. However, in recent days officials said they haven’t been able to help outfit all of their moms and kids because of a lack of winter clothing donations.
“Unfortunately, it’s something that is really hard for us to have to turn a mom away, so we do what we can. Staff or volunteers have run to Walmart or wherever to pick up some things. We have given them gift certificates to go do that themselves if we have those available, so we just kind of pull any kind of resources,” Mull said. “To see a mom come in and as a mom to know that you are not able to provide for your kids for whatever reason it’s just heartbreaking.”
Mull and Wheeler said they are optimistic about overall donations for 2017. They both said Wichitans are extremely giving, however they feel many people may be overwhelmed with the large number of charities that are in need of donations.
“I think people get side tracked. I think Wichita is a very generous community and there is so much going on. I think there are so many different ways that people can help in the community so now they have to pick and choose and make priorities,” Wheeler said.