Tough economic times aren't taking a break during the holidays.
Many area charities and organizations are seeing greater need this year compared to years past, and the number of brand new families asking for help continues to climb.
That's why local charities are hoping this year more people experience the gift of giving.
"I think we are struggling," Theresa Mangapora with the Brazos Valley Food Bank said.
The Brazos Valley Food Bank says it is seeing a greater need this holiday season.
"When you look at the numbers for the partners that we work with throughout the Brazos Valley that give out food, the summer months to now, it's about a 40 percent increase in demand of people showing up needing food," Mangapora said.
However, the donations remain about the same.
"When you see the fact that we have the increase that just means we need more to be able to meet the demand," Mangapora said.
Other local charities and organizations have also witnessed an increased need.
"This year we're sensing a greater urgency in the community," KORA Radio Personality Roger Garrett said. "It's been a hard financial year for a lot of people and they're looking into the first part of 2009 with it not looking much better."
KORA'S Radio Mash starts Thursday. The 100-hour event collects Christmas gifts for thousands of children who otherwise wouldn't have a present.
This year's need is expected to surpass last year's.
"We're anticipating a very large demand this year for people who need toys and gifts from Radio MASH," Garrett said.
Candy 95 is holding its annual Christmas Angel Drive. This year the organization hopes to collect gifts for 500 low-income children, about 100 more than last year.
"What better time than now to really take that initiative and do something good for someone else," Candy 95 DJ Alli said.
Even though the need has increased, charities are hopeful this community continues to what it does best.
"If you can give, now is the time to give. It really is. People are struggling, neighbors are struggling, family members are struggling and they aren't telling you because they're proud and they don't want to," Mangapora said.
You can help the Brazos Valley Food Bank December 10, when we host the Food for Families Food Drive. Join us at any of three locations this year; the Brazos Center, 5:30 a.m. to 10:35 p.m., The Kimbro Center in Madisonville or Mid-South Synergy in Navasota from 6:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. to drop off your donation as we work to end hunger in the Brazos Valley.
As for Christmas Angels, Candy 95 is accepting gifts through December 12, while also accepting monetary donations to buy presents. You can adopt an angel at either of the College Station Blue Baker restaurants.
As for Radio Mash, if you know of a child who needs to receive a toy from this drive, all you have to do is go by the KORA studios on Villa Maria in Bryan and fill out a form. You can also bring a toy to the tent at Post Oak Mall. The event starts at 6 a.m. Thursday and ends Monday at 10 a.m.
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