Economic woes challenge charities, donors


The holidays are a time for friends and family; a time to give thanks and share with others. In Manhattan, several charitable and nonprofit organizations are reaching out to the community for help from more-fortunate citizens, whether that is an abundance of time, food, clothes or money.

With the ice storm last winter, the tornado this summer and the slump in the economy, Manhattan residents’ needs are greater than in years past.
“Our community especially has experienced so much this past year,” said Tascha Phillips, director of the Flint Hills Breadbasket. “There have been a number of disasters our community has had to face.”
Phillips also said Fort Riley is expanding.
“We have more people coming into the community, and we have more people who need jobs,” she said. “I feel like it’s hard for people to go out there and find the work that they need when they’re having to compete so hard for these jobs. The cost of housing is just really high right now. People are suffering financially.
“The price of food has gone up tremendously this year, and people are just trying to stay afloat. When you are on that fixed income you don’t have the extra money to play with when the price of gas goes up to $4 a gallon. People are struggling with paying for child care in the community.”
Phillips said the Breadbasket sent out about 1,000 holiday food baskets in November and expects to increase that number by 100 for December.
“We base those baskets based on family size,” she said. “The family’s going to get everything they need to make a complete holiday meal.”
The Breadbasket needs items like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, sweet potatoes, canned soups, breads and fresh apples to put in the baskets, she said.
Other food items needed are pancake mix and syrup, canned meat, canned fruit, tuna, cold cereal, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly.
The Breadbasket has served more food than last year, but has received less money in donations.
“On the donor side, people are scared,” Phillips said. “All of our resources are limited … There’s uncertainty. People are trying to protect what they’ve got because they don’t know what’s going to happen. Donors still want to give, but they can’t give as much as they have in the past.
During this holiday season several organizations sponsor events and fundraisers to support those in our community hit hardest by these unfortunate events. Here are some of the events happening this month in Manhattan and what they are seeking.

giving fun
Many Manhattan organizations have been collecting food donations for the holiday parade that begins downtown at 6 p.m. Friday.
The floats in the parade will be created from donations received. Floats will be judged on creativity, and a prize will be awarded at the end of the parade to the best use of food donations on the float.
K-State baseball players will weave through the parade with grocery carts, collecting canned goods and food donations from the crowd.
Beginning Friday, Downtown Manhattan Inc. will sponsor carriage rides in the downtown area throughout the holiday season. The cost to ride is a nonperishable food donation, said Gina Scroggs, executive director of Downtown Manhattan Inc. Munson Angus Farms will provide the horses and carriage.
Any food collected will be donated to the Flint Hills Breadbasket.
Sunset Zoological Park will be participating in the parade and will give $1 off admission throughout December, Director Scott Shoemaker said.
“It’s part of our new ‘Cool to Care’ campaign,” Shoemaker said. “This month it’s cool to care about community members.”

People can also give cash donations to the Breadbasket.
“Cash donations are wonderful,” Phillips said. “They are matched 50 cents on the dollar by local businesses and foundations. So that money goes even further. We can purchase food we are especially short on.”
The Manhattan Crisis Center will mail out forms for local citizens to send in cash donations.
“We really depend on this mailing,” Executive Director Judy Davis said. “From July 2006 through June 2007, we sheltered 3,023 people, and from July 2007 to June 2008 it was 6,235.”

Davis said on its lowest month the center boarded 10 people, and during its busiest month they provided shelter for 53 different people.
“For whatever reason we are serving more — in particular our safe shelter for domestic violence victims and their children,” Davis said. “It’s just pretty crazy right now and has been for a while.”

The Breadbasket has an “Adopt A Family” program. Potential donors can call Phillips at the Breadbasket to sign up. The program takes care of children’s winter needs by purchasing clothes, shoes and new toys as holiday gifts.
Phillips said last year the program had 973 children, and this year families are still signing up.
Used toys can be donated to Toys for Manhattan. The toys are cleaned and refurbished for underprivileged families, Director Jody Padgett said.
The program was started several years ago by a Riley County Police officer, and when he retired, Padgett took over the program.
“I set it up like a store,” Padgett said. “It’s not just dumped out. We go through it and find parts and pieces. We also separate out things that need batteries. I have another gentleman who works on bicycles, so we have bicycles this year.”
Donors may drop off toys at the Riley County Police Department at 1001 S. Seth Child Road; McCullough Development at 210 N. 4th St.; Manhattan Dental at 1400 Beechwood Terrace; Time Out Corner at 3003 Anderson Ave., Suite 909 (Village Plaza); or at the Toys for Manhattan shop located at 1709 Airport Road.
For those who wish to drop off toys at the shop, it will be open Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m. through Dec. 18.
Parents can shop 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 6, 13 and 20. The toys are free to anyone, though Padgett said, “Take all you want, but not more than you need.”

K-State’s Recreational Services has extended its coat drive through Dec. 19. The coats can be dropped off at Peters Recreation Complex.
The drop-off station, a cardboard house, is located inside the lobby, said Marian Brandenburg, office specialist at the Rec. Donors can sign a sheet in recognition of their charitable donation or remain anonymous.
“We have received 465 coats,” Brandenburg said. “We never anticipated this kind of response.”

If one cannot spare any toys, clothes, food or cash, the community has several organizations who depend on people donating time.
The United Way of Riley County has a comprehensive list of organizations in the community who are always seeking volunteers. Some especially need volunteers during the holidays.


Charitable Organizations in Manhattan Area

Adult Learning Center
Alcohol and Other Drug Education Service
American Cancer Society
American Red Cross of the Flint Hills
Armed Services YMCA of Junction City
Army Community Service
Audubon of Kansas
Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Manhattan Inc.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Manhattan
Crisis Center Inc.
Downtown Manhattan Inc.
Ecumenical Campus Ministry
Flint Hills Breadbasket
Flint Hills Job Corps
Girl Scouts of Kaw Valley Council
Head Start
Homecare & Hospice Inc.
Kansas Children’s Service League
Kansas Horse Council
Kansas Legal Services
KONZA Prairie Biological Station
K-State Child Development Center
K-State Community Service Program
K-State Gardens
Manhattan Arts Center
Manhattan Baseball Association
Manhattan Day Care and Learning Centers
Manhattan Emergency Shelter Inc.
Manhattan Habitat for Humanity
Manhattan Housing Authority
Manhattan Parks and Recreation Department
Manhattan Special Olympics Sports Club
Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community
North Central – Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging
Ogden Friendship House
Ogden Youth Center
Pawnee Mental Health Services
Regional AIDS Project
Regional Prevention Center of Northeast Kansas
Resource Center for Independent Living
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program
Riley County Extension Service 4-H
Riley County Health Department
Riley County Historical Society and Museum
Riley County Seniors’ Service Center
St. Joseph Village Senior Community
Salvation Army
Seven Dolors Child Care and After School Program
Social Rehabilitation Service
Social Security Administration
Stoneybrook Retirement Center
Sunflower CASA Project Inc.
Sunset Zoological Park
UFM Community Learning Center
United Way of Riley County
*list provided by United Way of Riley County