Organizations Continue to Help Needy Despite Large Funding Cuts

As a result of the economy, more people are going to non-profits for help this holiday season.

By Ayesha Minhaj
|  Tuesday, Nov 22, 2011  |  Updated 11:38 AM PDT
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Volunteers at Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose are handing out thousands of turkeys and other donated foods to the needy, and they're doing it with less government funding.  NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro reports from San Jose.

Volunteers at Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose are handing out thousands of turkeys and other donated foods to the needy, and they're doing it with less government funding. NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro reports from San Jose.

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While people across the country prepare for a Thanksgiving feast this week, hundreds of families in the Bay Area are looking to non-profit organizations for their next meal.  

Unfortunately, many organizations that assist the needy are feeling strained this holiday season. While the number of people coming to non-profits for help is on the rise, several of these groups are seeing declining donations and cuts in their government funding.

Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose is one such organization. The service tries to combat poverty in the Silicon Valley by providing families with everything from free hot meals to low income home energy assistance. The organization has lost over $1 million in government funding and donations this year but is committed to continue serving families in need despite the cutbacks.

This Thanksgiving, Sacred Heart will be handing out free boxes of food for needy families. The boxes weigh over 70 pounds and include not just a full Thanksgiving meal, but enough food to feed a family of four for a week. The distribution of the boxes began on Monday and will continue until Wednesday. Sacred Heart plans on handing out 4,000 boxes during this time, four hundred more than it did last year.

"We are seeing a staggering number of clients, in the past year we had 57,000. The Numbers are relentless," said Poncho Guevara, Sacred Heart Community Service director.

While demand for its services are increasing, Sacred Heart says it is in dire need of financial donations and turkeys. The organization needs an additional 2,000 turkeys in order to assist the 4,000 families that are hoping to receive a box of food.  

The Health Trust, another organization that assists the needy in Silicon Valley is also struggling financially. The organization has lost over $100,000 for it's Meals on Wheels program which delivers daily hot meals to individuals in need. The cuts have come mostly from government sources and numerous small corporate sponsorships.

"When all those little ones add up, they make a pretty significant impact," said Health Trust Vice President Paul Hepfer.

As a result of the decreased budget, Meals on Wheels volunteers will not be able to personally deliver a fresh hot meal to needy families on Thanksgiving day this year, as they normally do. Instead, needy individuals, many of them elderly, will receive a frozen meal on Tuesday that they will have to heat up themselves.

If you are in the position to donate to these groups we've put links below.

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