The economy is down and so are donations for service agencies, among them Sampson’s County Crisis Center, which is experiencing declines in its revenue.
Not only have individual donations dipped but government funds have also been withheld, forcing the Crisis Center to reduce its projected budget for the 2013 fiscal year.
Lorie Faircloth, assistant director and financial secretary for the Crisis Center, said with donations down this past year, the call for help was going out.
“We saw a 25 percent decline in individual donations made to the Crisis Center in 2012. We just completed our fiscal year in July and we averaged serving about 600 people per month with food, and totaled over 8,000 service contacts in all areas including food,” explained Faircloth.
The 2012 Crisis Center budget totaled $183,000 but the 2013 fiscal year budget has been lowered to $172,000.
“We projected that we might not see federal FEMA funds again this year so we reduced the projected income. We only received half of the allocation from FEMA in 2012 that we were told we would receive. This has really forced us to become more vigilant in ensuring that we serve those truly in need,” expressed the assistant director.
Faircloth said about 41 percent of the income of the Crisis Center is spent in salaries for the four paid staff members; the rest goes to assist those in need.
“The staff has voluntarily decided to take unpaid days off to help take pressure off an over strained budget. Staff members have not had a cost of living increase in the past three years. We are striving to continue to provide the best services possible to our citizens, but the drop in donations have made it difficult,” stressed Faircloth.
The assistant director also shared that the Food Bank used to send five to six pallets of food to the center but now they only bring one to two pallets and the center has to supplement what food is given.
“Food is by far our biggest need and the biggest part of what we give out. Because of the drop in donations and less food received from the food bank, our bags just are not as full as they once were,” cited Faircloth. “We gladly accept non-perishable, non-glass items,” added the assistant director, about donations that can be made directly to the Sampson facility.
Faircloth did say that the churches have done well in maintaining their giving and the thrift shop has remained steady in providing funding for the center.
“The thrift store did a good job last year but it did not reach the expected figure we had set for it last year,” explained the financial secretary.
She also expressed that last year the center had an unusually high number of families that were victims of fire, putting even more of a financial drain on already quickly depleting funds. The center feeds, clothes and houses the family on a short term basis until other arrangements can be made during times of fire.
“We hear so much about helping other people around the world and they do need help,but as the slogan around town says…’Buy Local’ we also need to Give Local!” remarked Faircloth.
The assistant went on to explain that when people give to outside agencies, many people locally have to do without because the money is going elsewhere.
“I am not trying to say that others do not have needs, because they do. But we have so many people locally that need help, and when people are looking somewhere to give their money we hope they will look to give to us here at home,” said Faircloth.
The Crisis Center is hoping that donations will pick up, especially with Christmas and cold weather coming in a few months.
“We work with the other local agencies whenever possible, and if things come in that we cannot use we try to direct them in their direction and they do likewise. This way the items are not lost and we help each other out,” shared Faircloth.
The assistant director expressed that many churches and other organizations help by holding food drives and other events to help the Crisis Center. Others are encouraged to do the same.
“We invite anyone to come down and see our new facade, visit, volunteer, shop and donate. We are here to serve and there is always a lot going on at the Sampson County Crisis Center,” said Faircloth.
The center is located at 309 E. Main St. in Clinton and can be reached by phone at 910-592-3599.