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Non-profits affected by inflation hope for generous season of giving

With inflation higher than it has been in decades, The Salvation Army is feeling the impact.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Numbers released this week show inflation might be easing slightly, but still many people are struggling to make ends meet.

Local charities and non-profit organizations are focused on helping families struggling this holiday season find important resources. They hope the public's generosity this year matches the level of need.

The Salvation Army of Kent County kicked off its annual Red Kettle Campaign Friday morning in Grand Rapids with a goal of raising $1.7 million.

"Unless it's given for a specific disaster, it stays in the community. About 86 cents out of every dollar stays to help in direct services," said Major Timothy Meyer, the Grand Valley Area Commander. 

Services like food, clothing and utility assistance.

With inflation higher than it has been in decades, The Salvation Army is feeling the impact.

"The dollar is just not going as far," said Meyer. "That has impacted not only the people we serve but our own employment costs. So it's very important we're able to reach our campaign goal so we're able to reach these critical services." 

At United Way's 211 resource assistance program, a different ringing can be heard.

Jessie Verville, the 211 Team Lead, has been answering more calls since October 1 which is when sign ups started for the Toys for Tots, Angel Tree and Santa Claus Girls programs. 

"We're seeing an uptick in first time callers this year because of the pandemic and everything that came out of that," she said. "We're still climbing out but we'll get there." 

United Way has a 'Stuff the Sled' collection drive that gives every child in the Head Start program a gift, however Verville anticipates people won't be able to give as much as they normally would this year.

Click here to see United Way's Holiday Guide to learn how and where to give and volunteer.

Even though times are tough, these organizations are hoping the community will be generous this holiday season.

"Often it's our neighbor we're not aware of who has to ask for help for the first time in their lives," said Meyer. "It's very important when they ask for help, we have the funds and resources to help them."

The Red Kettle Campaign runs now through the end of December. 

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