Share the Season donations were down slightly in 2014, about $14,000 less compared with the year before, when the organization had record donations.
The program, a joint project of the Salvation Army, Wichita Community Foundation and The Eagle, raised $244,600 in 2014.
“This program has never been about the numbers,” said Shelly Prichard, president and CEO of the Wichita Community Foundation. “Through the years we have seen slight fluctuations, but through the long term, it is a theme of consistent giving from generous people.”
Since its inception in 2000, Share the Season has raised more than $2.6 million to help more than 3,100 families.
This past year, 214 families were helped through the donations of 1,002 donors.
In the first several years of the program, the Wichita Community Foundation provided seed money to help the campaign. In more recent years, contributions have continued to pour in after the holiday season. Some of that money has been used to help people with unexpected needs at other times of the year.
“Our community puts its arms around people this time of the year with this program,” Prichard said. “People who never expected to be in the position of needing help, who never expected to get helped, were helped in this way.
“The community’s donations helped them turn a corner or gave them help when they needed it.”
One letter the foundation received from a person it helped read: “Words can’t explain what you have done for me. You have truly blessed me. I now am going into 2015 with a fresh start. You have taken my worries, stress, sadness away and now I hold my head up high and continue to work hard.”
Prichard said those type of letters are common.
“Someone who sends in $25 can’t know how their collective donation helps – but it does with the fabric of our community. It helps the big picture,” she said. “This program works year after year, no matter what the economy.”