Charities in need of community help this holiday season


FORT MYERS, Fla.- It’s crunch time for charities in Southwest Florida, as they try to help the less fortunate and compete against commercial messages, begging for consumers to spend their time and money.

“I try to not think of it as competing, but rather, we come alongside with our message, which is the holidays are important for the less fortunate as well,” said Stacey Cannington of Community Cooperative in Fort Myers.

Her charity is competing in the Wal-Mart holiday makeover contest on Facebook. The retail giant is giving away more than $1 million dollars to agencies that need physical renovations of their buildings or food pantries.

Community Cooperative says it badly needs a renovation of its pantry, and hopes to win $20,000. You can vote for Community Cooperative by visiting:

Meanwhile, The Salvation Army is in need of toys and hopes for a nice haul from the Toys for Tots mailbox drive on Saturday, Dec. 6.  But the effort is hampered by the postal service refusal to allow groups to put flyers in mailboxes, reminding people of the toy drive.

“It’s unfortunate, but this year we tried to do our best to get the word out with the resources that we have. This is one of our largest toy drives, and we’re in need of these toys,” said Major Cheryl Gilliam of the Salvation Army.

The head of the letter carriers group in Florida says they used to collect 1 million toys on Toys for Tots Saturday, when they were allowed to put flyers in boxes.  Now, without advance notice, the take is lowered to about 400,000 toys.

Lee County resident Ann Marie Wildman says the holiday push for money and time can be overwhelming.

“Everyone’s asking this time of year for money, or time, or commitments and they’re all very, very important to give to, but you have to make decisions on who you can be selective with, it’s very tough, ” Wildman tells WINK News.

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