COLUMBIA — Charity donations made to a few organizations in Columbia increased in 2011 from previous years.
The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri distributed 28 million pounds of food in 2011, slightly more than the 27.3 million pounds it distributed in 2010.
Peggy Kirkpatrick, director of the Food Bank, said the organization ended the year inundated with holiday donations. In addition, Kirkpatrick said 1.1 million pounds of food were donated through “The Million Pound Challenge” by Mayor Bob McDavid, surpassing the challenge's goal.
Although the challenge was met, Kirkpatrick hoped the organization would distribute 30 million pounds of food overall.
"The biggest challenge has been the food supply and the ability to afford to get the food throughout the year," Kirkpatrick said, explaining the disparity.
Rising food and transportation prices also added difficulties, she said.
Kirkpatrick said having a steady supply of food all year long to keep up with the demand was hard because many donations were made toward the end of the year. For this year, she has the same goal for the food bank: to distribute 30 million pounds of food.
The Salvation Army also saw an increase in its 2011 donations.
Major Kendall Mathews, regional coordinator for the Salvation Army, said donations of clothing and household items made to the organization increased 20 to 30 percent compared to 2010.
Items donated are resold at the organization's store, and 85 cents of every dollar sold goes to services such as food, shelter, Christmas gifts and camps during the summer Mathews said.
However, the organization went through a slow donation period last year. Mathews said it was "sluggish and slow" to start but "picked up momentum" toward Christmas and New Year's Day.
The Salvation Army reached its goal — $340,000 — through the Red Kettle donation collection that included bell ringers and mail appeal donations in 2011. The bell ringer donation ended on Christmas Eve. The Salvation Army will receive donations through mail appeal until Jan. 15.
In 2010, it met its goal by raising $334,000 through the same donation collection.
Mathews hopes people will continue to give this year too.
"We're hoping people will continue to remember the works of the Salvation Army and the benefit it has to the community,” Mathews said. "We hope people continue to give."
The American Red Cross chapters in Missouri also had a 25 percent increase in monetary donations last year. This increase covers the overall donations made to the American Red Cross chapters in mid-Missouri, northeastern Missouri, St. Louis and parts of Illinois near St. Louis, said Mike Flanagan, communications manager for the American Red Cross Capital Area chapter.
Flanagan said Missouri residents stepped up and showed generosity to people in need when several natural disasters struck Missouri last year.