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The grinch this year is inflation; organizations keep the holiday spirit alive helping neighbors in need

Posted at 7:15 PM, Dec 20, 2023
  • Recent data shows inflation is cooling, but it's not quite in time for the holidays
  • Neighbors say they are struggling to find funds to celebrate Christmas to the same extend this year
  • Watch the video to find out how organizations are meeting a need and why this year's Christmas wish lists look a little difference


All items excluding, food and electricity, have seen a 4 percent increase in cost. That's according to the US. Bureau of Labor Statistics. So holiday gifts have not been a priority for some in the Big Bend following a year of inflation and since Hurricane Idalia. But that's not stopping agencies from keeping the Christmas spirit alive in our city. I'm finding out how area organizations are stepping up to help this season as they deliver gifts in the week leading up to one of our favorite holidays of the year.

Remember those red kettles you've been seeing at the grocery store? Your donations on top of other community support are helping make giving season at The Salvation Army a success.

"It helps me out a lot, because I've got 7 kids so it's a big help for me," said Jacquelyn Rogers. She said this year has been hard but she's had to push through. Captain Joann Frazier with The Salvation Army has seen this need in the depletion of their resources.

"We're at capacity with our food pantry, we're giving away so many vouchers through our family store, people are just in need, and you're talking about the middle, working class who are barely making it day by day," said Frazier.

Frazier said it's been more common for people to ask for practical items this year including bedding and toiletries. Elder Care Services have been tracking this trend in seniors.

"I can't, I can't, I mean on a fixed income, and I mean the bills, you know they're so high," said Jerry Clark, a senior who has received his Christmas gifts through their annual Elder Elf program.

Jocelyne Fliger with Elder Care Services says the lists this year consists of needs instead of wants.

"This is a time of year when they're really thinking about practical items, cleaning supplies, things for their home, that we've seen with the economy and just post Covid, those prices go up," said Fliger.

Elder Care Services and Salvation Army are providing some relief during this often tricky time. A similar joy is being inspired at Big Bend Cares. They're handing out gifts all week through their Holiday Angels program.

"Our way of giving you know Christmas to the families that can't otherwise afford it due to the burden of medical cost for the care they receive," said Serene Smallwood with Big Bend Cares.

Smallwood said the cost of care for HIV AIDS is high.

I checked the US Bureau of Labor statistics, medical commodities have risen 5 percent from Nov. 2022 to Nov. 2023 and 0.5 percent just in the last month.

Smallwood said they help their clients navigate their costs. Holiday Angels, she said, is a supplemental support, to boost their quality of life.

"Majority of our clients at Big Bend cares live 200 percent below the poverty line," said Smallwood.

Smallwood said Holiday Angels is one of the ways Big Bend Cares and the community show their support.

If you're looking to give back, the Salvation Army is still accepting sign ups for their register to ring program, Big Bend Cares takes donations all year round, even for their Holiday Angels program, and Elder Care services are always looking for volunteers too. Information for all three organizations can be found below. It can even be some food for thought as you're thinking about those new years resolutions.

The Salvation Army - Sign-up for Register to Ring and to donate
Elder Care Services - Looking for donations and volunteers
Big Bend Cares - Open donations all year round for all services, including Holiday Angels