Giving continues to increase for the Share the Season program, which offers one-time aid to people affected by unexpected hardships.
At this time last year, the organization had received $173,000 in donations. As of Thursday, the organization had raised nearly $185,000 this year.
“I am no math whiz but we have seen an increase in giving over the last four years,” said Shelly Prichard, president and CEO of the Wichita Community Foundation, which operates the program along with the Salvation Army and The Eagle.
“This is our 15th year, and I think some of the increase is due to a growing awareness about the program, marketing and we’ve been more proactive in recruiting folks who might need this type of help.”
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The average recipient receives help toward paying mortgage, utility or medical bills. Payments are made directly to creditors.
The deadline for people wanting to apply for aid with Share the Season is midnight Friday.
Since Thanksgiving Day, The Eagle has featured a daily story of someone in need. Those who are featured remain anonymous, but their need will be verified by the Salvation Army.
Share the Season is a grassroots approach in which the majority of donors send what they can — $5, $10 or $25 — while some contribute more. Last year, 1,121 donors gave more than $258,000 to help 200 families in need.
The original concept for the program came when local philanthropist Mary Lynn Oliver told Wichita Community Foundation leaders about a program in Santa Fe, N.M., called the Empty Stocking Fund. That served as the prototype for Share the Season.
How to get, give help
Share the Season is a Wichita-based program that provides help to the working poor, either families or individuals, facing unexpected hardships.
To apply for help, fill out an application at www.sharetheseason.org or pick one up at the Salvation Army, 350 N. Market. For more information, call 316-263- 2769. The deadline to apply is midnight Friday.
Send contributions to Share the Season, Wichita Community Foundation, 301 N. Main, Suite 100, Wichita, KS 67202. Donations can also be made through PayPal online at www.sharetheseason.org.
For more information, call 316-264-4880 or visit www.sharetheseason.org.