Area charities seek holiday donations

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 23, 1999

The turkey isn’t even on the table yet, but Miss-Lou charities are already looking ahead to Christmas.

&uot;The level of giving is nowhere near what I’ve experienced with Natchezians in the past, and we’re concerned about it,&uot; said Stewpot Director Shirley Wheatley.

The Stewpot serves free meals every day of the year to people in the community.

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But right now the kitchen is in desperate need of canned-food items. &uot;Our cupboards are alarmingly bare,&uot; Wheatley said.

And the number of volunteers is also down, she added. Wheatley is hoping the community will come to their aid.

The Stewpot is asking for items such as vegetables in large cans, potato mix, rice, sugar, salt, cooking oil and dishwasher detergent, Wheatley said.

But the canned-food shortage is still the biggest concern. &uot;People have not been giving this year,&uot; Wheatley said.

The&160;local chapter of the Salvation Army has already begun its annual fund-raising drive. The army hopes to raise at least $50,000 to cover its Christmas services and next year’s projects, said Lt. Bobby Westmoreland.

Already the army is about $2,000 behind 1998’s donations at this time of year, Westmoreland said.

&uot;And we really need that to pay the army bills,&uot; Westmoreland said. &uot;This is really our big fund for the whole year.&uot;

The Salvation Army raises much of its money through the money kettles it places at local stores. Most of the kettle money is spent on food items.

The army is also in the middle of its annual canned-food drive. The organization depends on donated food and items bought with army funds to feed needy families long past Christmas. &uot;That’s why it is so important that the canned-food drive goes well,&uot; Westmoreland said. &uot;It usually gets us into July or August.&uot;

The army also uses the money to buy gifts for nursing home residents and for the Angel Tree children who are not adopted.

&uot;We usually have to buy for about 200 kids,&uot; Westmoreland said.

The older children on the tree are less likely to get adopted, he added.

Catholic Charities, on South Union Street, still has 10 families that need to be adopted for Christmas and the Delta Store Front Mission, on Louisiana Avenue, Ferriday, La., also has a canned-food shortage.