Southwest Georgia charities struggle during holidays

Ray Allen

The holiday season is a traditionally slow time for charities across the nation and Southwest Georgia is no exception.

"We too have felt the pinch of the economy and are trying to struggle to make our budget," said Ray Allen of the Boy Scouts of America. "We've had to cut back on some employees and a few support areas."

And the Boy Scouts aren't alone.

The Albany chapter of the Salvation Army was hoping for a better year in 2010 but hard times continue to take their toll.

"While we are a little ahead of last year, we are still a little behind where our goal's supposed to be," said Doug McClure of the Salvation Army.

The organization's family store is also suffering a slowdown.

"With the recession, with the economy, the way it's been down lately, people have not been replacing as many items, they've been making furniture go a little longer than they might have," said McClure.

Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful relies on a different kind of commodity that's limited during the holidays â" time. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization and during the holidays, people are often too busy to volunteer.

"We, as paid staff, come to work every day but our community is Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful and our citizens are keeping Albany-Dougherty beautiful by volunteering," said Laverne Levins of Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful.

An increase in the number of non-profits over the last few years has also left local charities competing against one another.

"Sometimes, it feels like there's probably duplications of services but I think it's more important to look at the non-profits they're looking to give to," said Allen.

"Check out your non-profits," added McClure. "Who are they working with? Who are they partnering with? Are they duplicating services that are already being done?"

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