People in Need starts 32nd season of giving

Columbian program raises money as need for charity grows

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter

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The Columbian is making it easy for you to help take care of some neighbors in need this holiday season.

Our People In Need program is kicking off its 32nd year of collecting donations Tuesday — with an envelope inserted into this newspaper.

Give whatever you can and mail it back in. The Columbian forwards your donations straight to the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington and its People In Need family fund, which was started by Columbian publisher Don Campbell in 1979.

About a quarter of that fund goes to the Salvation Army of Clark County and its Adopt-A-Family program. The local branch of the nationwide Christian charity provides assistance of all sorts to people in need — from food boxes to emergency rent and utility assistance, to case management for people seeking stability and employment. The Salvation Army of Clark County recently reported a $250,000 budget shortfall, resulting in layoffs of four out of its 16 staff members. Now down to 12 staffers, the Salvation Army has also cut back on programs and is considering more cuts in the future.

You can read the stories of local families in need, go online and choose one to “adopt” with specific donations and gifts. (For example, there’s a single mother of three children with reduced work hours and a fear there’ll be no Christmas this year. Her 5-year-old wishes for a camera; her 8-year-old loves Legos; the 11-year-old girl just wants clothing; and Mom would love some boots and “a cord of wood if possible.”)

Or, you can make a general donation to our People In Need fund via the envelope provided. Or, you can drop off donations of needed goods — clothing, toys, gifts, food — at the Salvation Army, 1500 N.E. 112th Avenue.

The Campbell family and current Columbian Publisher Scott Campbell also choose other worthy nonprofit organizations to accept the rest of the donations throughout the year.

Visit http://columbian.com/adoptafamily to learn more. Or call The Salvation Army directly at 360-448-2880.