The spirit of giving runs higher at the holidays, lending local charities a much-needed boost.
This year, the women at the YWCA Women's Shelter have been overwhelmed by the community's generosity, said Director Ann Davidson.
"I think the women really didn't know what to expect," Davidson said. "They had no idea how generous the community would be.
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Michelle Lock, YWCA programming assistant, looks through donated quilts given to the center this year for Christmas. Behind her is a pile of presents that haven’t been picked up yet. Quilters in town give quilts every year so that the women at the shelter will be warm.
"For instance, earlier in December, two different parties came in and between them put new coats on everybody's back."
The YWCA basement was filled with bikes for the kids for Christmas, she said, and local quilters provided new quilts for everyone in the shelter.
The shelter gets donations year-round, she said, and some of its funding comes from reimbursements for treatment services it provides.
Still, the year-end generosity is very helpful.
"It's never so good it couldn't be better, and it's never so bad it couldn't be worse," she said.
There's always work to be done in the YWCA's 100-year-old building, Davidson added. The plumbing is old, and some of the rooms need renovation.
The shelter installed new windows this year to help with efficiency, Davidson said.
Though the year is almost over, people can still make tax-deductible donations for 2012.
Davidson said people can donate to the YWCA, 826 First Ave. N., by calling 573-3931, or by coming in person.
Brenda McBride, program development director of the Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center, said it relies heavily on donations to keep running.
"We always hope they will be continuous, but sometimes we do see a spike this time of year," McBride said. "I would assume we're going to see that this year, but I'm sure we don't have all our totals in yet."
The center's child advocates run a Christmas program to collect toys, clothes and other items for kids of the clients. Again, the community was very generous.
"The community donated more than in the past few years," McBride said. "We were able to give really nice toys and clothing to the children."
She said donations can be taken right up until January, if donors are looking for tax deductions.
"If we have it by the end of the year, we can absolutely do that for them," McBride said. Donations can be sent to D/SAOC, P.O. Box 773.
Salvation Army Capt. Ron Cook is hoping to see a spike too.
"A lot of our donations do come in around Christmas," Cook said. "Because of the red kettle, most of our funding comes in to help us all through the year.
"Right now we are only halfway to the goal we had set, which will be drastic for us if we don't see more funding come through. We'll have to do some big cutbacks if we don't see more funding."
The goal was $200,000, he said, and right now donations are around $100,000.
"We didn't really up our amount of money we were asking for. We kept it the same because last year we didn't quite reach our goal either. It's more important this year because we're servicing more than last year."
Donations are the main source of revenue, Cook said, and are needed so the organization can keep its doors open. Among other things, the money helps The Salvation Army serve meals five days a week, stock a food pantry and help clients with a wide range of medical expenses.
Donors can still get their 2012 tax deduction by dropping off a check at the office between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays, or mailing it to 126 N. Seventh St.
The Beacon of Hope Men's Shelter relies on Christmas giving too, said Director Steve Roe.
"What we bring in from Thanksgiving on up to the New Year is probably over half of what it takes to survive the year on," he said.
Giving is about the same as it was last year, though Roe said his goals haven't been reached yet.
"We run on a really low budget. We've got men that work and put in lots of hours, and they're only working for minimum wage," he said. "We'd like to increase wages, we'd like to hire more councilors - we don't have any councilors right now - and put in more programs."
Donations can be sent to the Beacon at 1021 First Ave N., or online at beaconofhopeshelter.com/you-can-help.