This year’s Share the Season is winding down and so far, $195,000 has been raised by more than 1,000 donors.
“This is another unbelievable giving year in Wichita,” said Rob Allison, president and CEO of the Wichita Community Foundation, which created the program 12 years ago.
“To raise this amount of dollars from this amount of individual donors in four weeks is amazing,” he said.
Donations will be accepted through the holidays, but the Salvation Army has stopped taking applications from people who have been adversely affected by unexpected hardships.
So far, 166 individuals and families have been helped this year; another 35 families are expected to receive aid. An additional 754 applications were received but turned down for various reasons. Some qualified for aid in other programs or had received help in the past from Share the Season.
“We may eclipse the amount of giving than what we had in 2010,” Allison said.
Last year the program raised $216,000. All money raised goes to help local people in need..
In 2010, a record number of donors — 1,045 — gave a record amount to help 281 families. Donations continued to come in after the program had stopped taking applications for assistance, resulting in a balance of $47,000.
The donations allowed the program to help 29 additional families over the summer — families who met the Share the Season criteria of not being eligible for other assistance programs. This is the first time since the program began in 2000 that such summer assistance has been possible.
Of that, $22,000 was used as seed money to start this year’s campaign.
The average recipient gets about $700 in assistance, mostly to pay the mortgage, utility bills or medical bills. Payments are made directly to creditors.
“There seemed to be a lot of children and parents with cancer being treated and needing help getting to the treatment facilities,” said La Tisha Chiles, one of the coordinators with Share the Season.
The program is a joint project of the Salvation Army, Wichita Community Foundation and The Wichita Eagle..
“With the needs and the state of the economy, I know the Wichita community has risen to the occasion,” Allison said.