Charities exceeded goals for 2009

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - Even though 2009 was a bad year economically for many families those who help those families did better than expected.  Charitable organizations that work year round to raise money for the less fortunate saw a huge increase in need last year.  That increase was also met by the number of people who helped out.

"There's never too much food," said Jean Oaks with the Black River Area Development Corporation.

Shelves at the Black River Area Development Corporation are full for now.

"It's just been amazing what we have accomplished in this past year," said Oaks.

Even though many are out of work or watching what they spend others are still giving.

"What I believe was a very successful year meeting needs.  Did we meet all the needs?  No, but we met many of the needs here in Region 8," said Major Craig Greenham with the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army brought in $96,000 with their kettle program in 2008 and with more and more jobs lost, hopes weren't too high for 2009.

"With the economic conditions we were hoping to raise $100,000," said Greenham.

Instead of reaching that number they did even better.

"We had a record bell ringing season taking in over $103,000," said Greenham.

Over in Pocahontas at BRAD their pantries are literally running over.

"This is the only room we use to distribute the food from but this is not the first time we've had enormous amounts of food," said Oaks.

They're having so many food donations and food overflow at this food bank they're storing food in the hallway and in an extra room.  Over the past year they've had multiple schools, churches, and other groups hold food drives and fundraiser's for BRAD.  Funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allowed BRAD to open food pantry's in Clay and Lawrence Counties.

"We couldn't do what we do without their support we couldn't touch the lives that we touch," said Greenham.

©2009 KAIT

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