Ashley Canesse, development director of The Salvation Army Manatee, sent me an e-mail last week. We touch base regularly, so the note wouldn't have been unusual.
Except the subject line in this e-mail implored, "We need help..."
Ashley is an amazing person, if you haven't met her. Despite her line of work, she simply doesn't ask for anything. She's always giving, and closes every conversation with "God bless." Somehow, you always walk away feeling better, stronger -- you know, blessed.
This e-mail was different. It captured the tenor of struggling times throughout our community:
In the 7 years I've been with The Salvation Army, I've never seen donations and Angel Tree adoptions be such a struggle. It's too late for people to adopt and truly the community has been generous. But the financial contributions are now down and it's affecting programs and services, especially if the downward trend were to continue.
We asked columnist/reporter Vin Mannix to take a pulse throughout our non-profit support groups, and he found so much of the same. We have a very generous community. And we have a community very much in need.
Let's hope Vin's story prompts a few more donations, a few more volunteers who will make a difference in someone's life. If you are in need, our wish is that this helps you connect with that special someone who can help.
Who to contact here:
The Salvation Army, 1204 14th St. W., will serve dinner 4 p.m. Tuesday
Our Daily Bread, 1426 14th St. W., will be open Christmas from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Meals On Wheels Plus of Manatee County: Call 747-4655 to donate.
United Way: Call 746-4088 to donate.