Despite economic downfall, Lufkin non-profits stepping up for holidays

Despite economic downfall, Lufkin non-profits stepping up for holidays
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Despite recent layoffs and climbing jobless numbers, Lufkin non-profits believe they are ready to meet the increased needs.

Last week, the state released numbers that showed the county had lost an additional 200 plus jobs from September to October. Many area non-profits have also seen an increase in numbers. These increased numbers have charities stretching their limits.

"We get 10 [new] people a day," said Yulonda RIchard, the director of the Christian Information Service Center. "That makes 50 a week. We usually get 250 people a day. Some days see more than others, but we stay busy. With the economy the way it is and with the layoffs going on, constantly people are in places that they thought never would be."

Last week, CISC handed out their annual Thanksgiving food bags and this year the group put out more the 1,200 bags.

"Those numbers are slightly down, but I think it is because so many other churches and community groups are also now helping out."

Richard said they rely on donations and are always looking for more.

"85 percent of what we do is all from volunteers," Richard said.

Love INC. works closely with CISC. Many of the clients overlap, so they always are looking out for each other. Love INC recently was given 50 Thanksgiving food baskets they are giving out on a first-come-first-serve basis to people who where unable to get help from CISC.

"It just gives people hope that they are not being left out of the Thanksgiving holiday," said Love Inc. Director Jerry Spann.

The days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday mean the halls of the Salvation Army are busier than usual.

The economic downturn and the holiday rush has increased the number of people looking for food assistance from the downtown Lufkin office by 20 percent, according to Captain Jason Moore. Moore said they expect higher numbers as the holiday season progresses towards Christmas.

"We are probably going to have to tighten the budget to help those that we were not helping before," Moore said. "We are here to help those in need. That's what we do."

The center is also looking for volunteers to help fill bags that go out to the needy and to help with the annual bell-ringing campaign.

"People don't realize that their change makes a difference," said Elton Arnold, a bell ringer. "We always want bills but change makes a difference."

The center does have paid bell ringers, but Moore said they are still actively looking for more volunteers to help out.

"Some people can't give their money, but they can give their time to help," Moore said.

The groups also believe the numbers will only increase as they get closer to Christmas, so donations will be needed up until then.

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