This week marks the start of our annual campaigns to raise money for The Deep Well Project and Bluffton Self Help.
These two community stalwarts are always ready to help with a utility bill, money for rent, a prescription payment or food to restock a family's shelves. The demand for their services has not lessened over the past 12 months. If anything, it has increased.
Executive director Betsy Doughtie reports that Deep Well is on track this year to match the more than 2,000 families helped in 2011.
About 85 percent of the food Deep Well distributes is donated, Doughtie said, and more always comes in this time of year.
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"People think of us in November and December," she said. "Our shelves were so empty just about a month ago."
At Bluffton Self Help, board president Peter Bromley reports the group expects to serve 28,000 people this year.
"Six years ago, we were serving 10,000 to 12,000 people," Bromley said. "Last year, was our biggest year, and we are already running 25 percent ahead."
For the second year in a row, the group has seen a sharp increase in the demand for food assistance. Through October, executive director Lili Coleman said, it has increased 40 percent over 2011, which was up 29 percent over the year before that.
The goal of the stories we tell you is to illustrate the work these two groups do all year long and to show how you and your contributions can help make a difference in your neighbors' lives.
With the money you donate, Deep Well and Bluffton Self Help gain critical flexibility to meet the community's needs.
For Deep Well, the annual campaign accounts for about half of its $700,000 budget. That's a significant impact in a very short time.
The $60,000 raised last year for Bluffton Self Help accounted for about one-sixth of its annual budget.
Deep Well founder Charlotte Heinrichs and Bluffton Self Help founder Ida Martin set the example we all should follow. When they saw need, they didn't wait for someone else to help. They got to work.
Please do what you can to help these groups continue their work in the coming year by donating generously during the holiday campaign.