Thursday, November 5, 2009

On warm winter coats and 400 turkeys

A couple of Cliff reach outs:

Crisis Assistance Ministry needs you to dig into your closet and pull out that "gently worn" coat or two -- or even sweaters and blankets on the bottom of the stack -- that you haven't used in years and donate them.

Like everything else, demand is up, but donations of warm clothes and blankets are down at the ministry's Free Store, which provides free clothing and household items to the needy.

The store only stocks donated clothes.

"It's not a cry that the house if falling in," said Dave Miller, operations director. "We just want to get ahead of the curve. I just noticed that in the month of October, we gave out more clothing (68,000 pieces) than we did in October last year (60,000).

"And because of the economy, people are understandably holding back a little. We just want people to know that we're still here and ask them to dig in the closet."

Most years, the Free Store runs short on men's winter coats and sweaters.

"Guys aren't good at cleaning out closets," Miller said. "We are always needing more men's clothes than we get.

"This is the time when donations get heavier. We're just not seeing that now."

Bring donations to the ministry's donation drop-off at 500-A Spratt St. west of uptown, Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For decades, the Bethlehem Center of Charlotte has provided a turkey and food to 400 families and 50 seniors at Thanksgiving.

A large church in recent years picked up the tab for the 400 families. This year, because the recession is forcing it to cut back, the church decided it couldn't pay for those meals this year.

Another church has stepped up to provide the nonperishables. But the center, which for nearly 70 years has provided educational opportunites for low-income children, needs to buy 400 10-to-14-pound turkeys.

Bi-Lo has reduced the prices of turkeys to the agency. But the center needs your financial help to pay for them.

"We don't have a place to store turkeys; we have to ship them in all at once," said Amy Hutchison, the center's development specialist. "That's why we're asking for money instead of turkeys."

The turkeys will be ordered on Nov. 23 -- so send your donation before then.

Send money donations -- remember no turkeys -- to Bethlehem Center, Attn: Amy Hutchison, 2705 Baltimore Ave., Charlotte NC 28203. Note "Thanksgiving 2009" on checks. Or you can make donations on the center's Web site at


Anonymous said...

Why do they need to have turkeys? Wouldn't it make more sense to spend the money on bulk foodstuffs that would last longer and feed more people? Beggars can't be choosers.

Anonymous said...

Well obviously they can't have ALL the turkeys in Charlotte. The biggest turkey just posted a stupid comment right before me! Get a life dude!!

Amy Hutchison said...

I'm so happy to report that in 2 days, we've already received enough to purchase 180 of the 400 turkeys! Thank you David, The Charlotte Observer, and the general community for your support!

To Anonymous: Thank you so much for your feedback. While we, in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, the Presbytery of Charlotte and Sociey of St. Andrews, provide our children with nutritious snacks and our families with some food throughout the year, the point of our holiday programs are to give the children the most family-oriented holiday experiences possible. The reason we don't serve dinner on Thanksgiving Day, for example, is so that our kids can wake up to the smells of a turkey roasting and sweet potatoes baking, just like many of us did when we were kids. This also encourages our families to gather around the Thanksgiving table. There are also places that serve meals on Thanksgiving Day, and they have a purpose and mission for doing what they do, too.

That's just our philosophy. I understand there are many other philosophies around why people give in different ways, and I encourage you to support a program that has the same philosophy you do, whether it be one of the other programs of the Bethlehem Center or with another nonprofit.