Dublin Villager

Holiday giving -- and need -- are growing in Dublin

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Fulfilling the holiday spirit won't be a difficult task in Dublin this year.

Dublin nonprofit organizations have no shortage of people who need a little help to make it each month or some assistance celebrating the holidays.

Last weekend the Dublin Food Pantry distributed the makings for Thanksgiving dinner to 300 people.

"Our numbers are going through the roof," said Nancy Johnson, food pantry executive director.

The group supplies an annual Thanksgiving dinner and offers its usual services for the rest of the year.

And Johnson said demand for those services is increasing.

"We have an overwhelming number," she said.

"We have increases of 40 families a month. That's huge and I don't think it's going to change."

The federal government cut food stamp funding to 47 million Americans at the beginning of the month and Johnson said the impact has been seen at the Dublin Food Pantry.

"A definite change has happened just in the last couple weeks," she said.

With the Dublin Food Pantry always in need of nonperishable food items such as pancake mix, syrup, jam, peanut butter and personal care items including soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, the Dublin Foundation recently stepped up and provided some funding for local people in need.

"This year the food pantry did not submit a (grant) application, but we had some funds available," said Jennifer Dring, foundation executive director.

"It's always a challenge meeting needs," Dring said.

"We thought it would be appropriate to use funds we had available."

The Dublin Foundation uses a grant process to help local nonprofits, but can also give out money to help more immediate needs, such as that seen at the Dublin Food Pantry, Dring said.

The Dublin Foundation gives out grants twice a year and gets funds from donations, money raised at the annual Emerald Celebration and other fundraisers.

An uptick in giving is usually seen around the holidays as people get into the holiday spirit and take advantage of tax deductions, Dring said.

"It's a great time of year to look at everything you have and see whether it would be the Dublin Food Pantry, Welcome Warehouse or Kids SMILES that you can give to," she said.

Others in the community will have a chance to celebrate the holidays, thanks to Welcome Warehouse's annual adopt-a-family program.

This year, Welcome Warehouse plans is sponsor 186 families and as of last week all but one four-child family was spoken for, said Shelley Walter, director of the adopt-a-family program.

"How the program is set up is we get referrals from guidance counselors (at Dublin City Schools) and I interview people," Walter said.

"I followup and interview people over the phone that couldn't come in for an interview ... ," she said.

"Then we have all our sponsors shop and wrap and deliver the presents or they bring the presents here (to Indian Run Methodist Church) and we have volunteers deliver the items Dec. 14."

Even though nearly all the families are taken for the adopt-a-family program, Welcome Warehouse Executive Director Jean Griffith said there are other ways to help.

Donations will go to other Welcome Warehouse programs, such as the Emergency Assistance Program, that issues a one-time payment for a utility or basic necessity.

The need for services from Welcome Warehouse has increased this year and Griffith said the group has helped 34 more families than usual.

"A lot of groups wanting to do service projects over the holidays collect new socks and underwear or personal care items," she said.

"A lot of groups will sponsor a collection drive for us. It's very beneficial for us.

"We get items to last us through several months," Griffith said.

For more information about holiday giving in Dublin find these nonprofits online at dublinfoundation.org, welcomewarehouse.org and dublinfoodpantry.org.

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