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Groups seek holiday help
Gift programs feel economy
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Forsyth County News

How to help

• To donate to Holiday Giving Tree for Kids, contact (770) 888-2788 or

• To give to Angels Over Forsyth, contact (678) 549-7752 or

• Help others this holiday season, check other listings

There is no shortage of groups working to give toys to local children in need this Christmas.

Unfortunately, some of these nonprofits are in short supply of donations at a time when needs are greater than ever.

The Forsyth County Family YMCA is seeking sponsors for nearly half of the 2,000 children registered to receive gifts this Christmas.

“Some of the sponsors from previous years ... they’re a little shorter than usual,” said Jerry Dupree, community development coordinator for the YMCA. “The economy is just hitting everybody."

The Holiday Giving Tree for Kids program had 1,250 children registered last year, when it was run by The Place of Forsyth County. Since the program shifted to the YMCA, demand has nearly doubled, Dupree said.

Kathy Goodberlet, a volunteer with Angels Over Forsyth, is noticing a similar shortage as she tries to find sponsors for 70 children in need.

“It’s been a slow year,” she said. “Things are much tighter for pretty much everybody.”

Angels Over Forsyth, which works with the court system, foster care and other at-risk youth programs, is hoping to bring Christmas to nearly 300 children.

But with limited resources, Goodberlet said she might have to cut down on the $150 sponsorship cost per child or combine several smaller donations.

“At this point, we’re looking at a whole lot of options,” she said. “We have two sisters that take a child each year and split the cost.

“You don’t have to spend the $150. It’s a ‘do what you can’ kind of thing now. We won’t turn down anything.”

Dupree is in the same boat. The Giving Tree sponsorships have typically been between $100 and $125 per child.

But this year, he said, “I’m telling people if they can take two kids and spend $75 to $80 on each, that would be a better deal for us, because we’re wanting to get everyone provided with some gifts somehow.”

Both nonprofits have extended their deadlines for sponsorships, extending them beyond the originally slated cutoff of the week before Christmas.

“If they can shop on Christmas Eve, I’ll give them a list,” Dupree said.

As time continues to pass, Goodberlet said her organization’s new motto has become “it will be fine.”

Angels Over Forsyth, she said, is banking on donations from local church groups, although there have been some surprises in the past.

“We had a lady come in two years ago. She had been helped by us when she was little,” Goodberlet said. “She brought toys to us because she remembered that Christmas when her father had just left and she thought it was going to be a miserable.”