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Nonprofits fight to stay afloat in ripple effect of unemployment

Posted March 1, 2011

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— Despite encouraging signs that the economy is improving, nonprofit organizations in central North Carolina are still feeling the effects of 9.7 percent unemployment. 

According the United Way, one in four people in the Triangle rely on the nonprofit for help, and supply falls far short of demand. United Way donations in the Triangle have dropped by $1.5 million since 2007 and requests for assistance jumped 30 percent from 2008 to 2009, spokeswoman for the organization said.

"It sounds like the perfect storm, doesn't it?" said Angie Welsh of the Triangle United Way. "We're seeing more need for basic needs services, for health care, for mental health care and really the whole range."

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, a nonprofit that provides food for Urban Ministries of Wake County and other groups, has seen an increase in food donations, but rising gas prices are still keeping them behind the curve.

The majority of agencies served by the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle experienced a 30 to 70 percent increase in people needing food this year, said a spokeswoman for the organization.

Nonprofits fight to stay afloat in ripple effect of unemployment Nonprofits fight to stay afloat in ripple effect of unemployment

"They are turning people away. They are cutting down their days from six days to three days because they can't feed the need," said Melissa Wajnert Hartzell of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.

The organization has a waiting list 27 agencies long, Hartzell said.

She said there are numerous examples of agencies served by the food shuttle being forced to scale back dramatically.

In Chatham County, she said, the closings of Joan Fabrics and Pilgrim's Pride plants, have sent unemployment skyrocketing, but the food pantry there had to cut back its hours of operation from six days a week to three because they didn't have enough food to go around.

One positive is that the United Way and other area nonprofits have seen a marked increase in volunteers, Hartzell said.

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  • 6079 SMITH W Mar 1, 2011

    Yeah, I see your point. If you wear a hat, no one will notice. Amazing how you can't make the connection between eight years of unpaid bills under George and Skelator, and the unpleasant responsibility of paying for them now that a different guy is in the White House. I bet you think things would be all hunky-dory if "The Maverick" and "The Grifter Screech Queen" had won the last presidential election. Figures. ;)

  • Caveman93 Mar 1, 2011

    What money are you giving to Obama? In fact, your pay check should be LARGER this month b/c of Obama.
    ~scientistjo

    Oh it's larger but can't buy half of what I used to with it.

  • jeff27577 Mar 1, 2011

    8 years on non-leadership? and what do you call now? a walk in the park? the "great" obama sure has done alot to curb alot of problems. "lets just throw money at it! we wont have to pay it back!"

  • 6079 SMITH W Mar 1, 2011

    Don't put all your hopes in one basket, Wally. YOU went through TWO elections in 2000 and 2004 and you ain't got a clue YET....;)

  • 6079 SMITH W Mar 1, 2011

    So NOW you're upset at the high price of eight years of non-leadership. Too bad you never thought to whine about it while it was HAPPENING, instead of blaming the guy who found all those unpaid bills in the drawer. ;)

  • scientistjo Mar 1, 2011

    What money are you giving to Obama? In fact, your pay check should be LARGER this month b/c of Obama.

  • GWALLY Mar 1, 2011

    Why is it when people have money non profits, business and the economy thrives...when banks, unions and the government have all the money EXERYONE suffers...????? Hopefully YOU will figure it out before the next election!!!!!

  • Caveman93 Mar 1, 2011

    Not suprised. Shows how well the recovery is doing eh?

  • working for deadbeats Mar 1, 2011

    It's amaxing how much better these non-profits do when people have money to give. Now we have to give it to Obama, so he can build his high speed trains.