While Santa’s helpers are handing out the presents to families in need, it’s a rush of generosity from Juneau residents in the form of donations and gifts during the past two days rather than a frantic rush by workshop elves that’s making fulfilling all the wish lists possible.
St. Vincent De Paul’s Juneau chapter was forced to stop accepting requests from needy residents for the annual Adopt-A-Family campaign earlier this week because for the first time in several years demand exceeded available donations. But Dave Ringle, executive director of the local St. Vincent’s chapter, said Thursday more than 150 emails and other online donations were received during the previous 48 hours.
“It’s a little bit humbling for this job,” he said. “When things get tight and people know there’s a need they usually respond.”
Ringle said he asked one person involved with the campaign to “spread the news” about the need and, among things, saw a coffee shop with a poster letting customers know about the effort. He said many of the late contributions are monetary which, while adding to a busy week for staff and volunteers, is also entirely additional cause for good cheer.
“We will have to buy a small amount of food with that because we have a little bit of extra demand,” he said. “We will also buy gift certificates for the families.”
More than 300 families have requested gifts this year, on the high end of a campaign that typically gets 250 to 300 requests annually. Ringle said he expected Thursday to be busiest day in terms of families picking presents up, with “a few stranglers tomorrow.”
“Hopefully we’ll get everything taken care of before the weather hits,” he said, referring to major storm expected to hit Juneau during Christmas weekend.
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