Charities Say They Have More Need In Tough Economic Times

Hundreds of military men and women found out how they can make a difference by donating money to the Combined Federal Campaign. The CFC takes voluntary contributions from federal employees and distributes the money to more than 1,500 local, national and international charities.

The Salvation Army is one of the CFC's beneficiaries. It serves meals twice a day seven days a week on a budget $50,000 less than it was this time last year. Officials blame the slowdown of economy, but what hasn't slowed down is their need for public support.

"The individual giving is so much more important," Salvation Army representative Linda Thornhill said. "Right now we are experiencing a down in the giving because of the economy, and I hope through getting the word out through what we actually do that the community will be able to give more back to those less fortunate."

During the kickoff of the Combined Federal Campaign at Keelser Air Force Base, representatives from several charities talked how they are trying to make do with less government funding.

"We get very little support from the state, and most of things we do is from private donations," Center Circle founder Tom Brosig said. "So when I came back in June to run Center Circle full time as a non-paid executive, my goal was to raise enough money to keep us open for a couple of years while we work with the state to get a funding source."

Officials with the CFC say campaign needs rejuvenating.

"Participation has decreased over time," organizer Deborah Downes said. "So what we're really hoping do is make sure we touch everybody, all the federal employees, and make sure that opportunity to give is there and hopefully increase people's willingness to contribute."

Some donors say they liked getting a closer look at where their dollars go. CFC officials say their goal is to raise $898,000 in South Mississippi, but they believe they can raise $1 million.

by Danielle Thomas