Local church struggles with donations

December 17, 2008 5:39:11 PM PST
Many in our community are struggling in this economy to put food on the table and a few gifts under the tree. And the people who offer them help need help themselves.

Thousands of people will show up here on Christmas Day for a warm meal and possibly the only Christmas gift they'll get this year. But there might not be enough to go around.

It's called Christmas for Everyone, but this year it might just be Christmas for a few hundred.

"We have enough gifts maybe for 600 people here," said Mary Perez.

That's for the 4,000 people expected to show up on Christmas Day.

Perez started the give away 23 years ago. She can't imagine having to turn away Contra Costa County's neediest.

"I'm not going to envision that. I'm going to just look that we're going to have enough," said Perez.

But with Christmas just over a week away, not having enough is a possibility. The auditorium at the New Hope International Church in Concord should be packed with new and used donations by now.

What should be a mound of clothes is just a pile. There's empty space between bins. The stacks of video games and bicycles are low.

The donations are trickling in.

April Harris and her children brought old clothes and shoes.

"There seems to be an increase in the homeless population here in concord and we've been wanting to do something and this is the perfect chance," said Harris.

Linda Miller wrote a check.

"I feel guilty I only gave $150 should probably have given more," said Miller.

But it might not be enough.

"We know people don't have a lot this year but if they can do something we'll make this work," said Perez.

It didn't help that a few months ago someone broke in and stole 500 blankets and 1,000 pairs of socks. Perez thinks she knows who did it. She never contacted the police.

"I'm sure they needed them. It was very cold and I'm sure they needed what they took, but it puts us at a handicap" said Perez.

Volunteers are collecting donations, and they'll be there every day until Christmas. You can drop off new clothes and gifts through Christmas day, but the deadline to bring used items is this Sunday. For more information call 925-228-2233.


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