Holiday helping hand needed

Holiday helping hand needed

With Thanksgiving upon us and December’s holidays just around the corner, this year’s holiday season is about to enter full swing.

During this time of year, when many are busy running from party to party, enjoying meals with family and friends and shopping for gifts, there are many less fortunate members of our community that could use a little bit of help to make their holiday season a little bit brighter.

According to some of the many local organizations that collect food and distribute it to those in need on a regular basis, donations are only 75 percent of what they were last year.

In some cases, everyday demand for food, perhaps the most important form of assistance these groups provide, has risen — sharply in some cases — while the shelves remain emptier than they were last year.

Although the call for help often is at its greatest during the holiday season, many food banks expect to feed even a greater number of those in need than usual this season.

Volunteers at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Woodbridge are preparing to feed 200 families this year — up at least 40 from last year’s total.

In Edison, St. James Episcopal Church — which estimates that close to 60 percent of those it helps live locally — reports that its donations are down 25 percent.

Since tough economic circumstances seem to have taken their toll on the community, this year charity may begin and end at home.