As thousands of hungry people with empty pockets streamed into Turner Field for a Thanksgiving meal, Elisabeth Omilami considered her organization’s own empty coffers.
For the 40th year, volunteers with Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry and Homeless — an Atlanta-based charity — served about 20,000 meals on Thanksgiving. But the organization had to take out a loan to help pay for the annual event after several natural disasters just about cleaned out its funds.
Food, clothing and housing assistance for 7,500 American in August cost the group about $147,000. There was almost nothing left for Thanksgiving, said Omilami, the group’s co-director. And its donors often said the same, she added.
“A lot of the corporations that were here last year didn’t come back,” she said. “We took out a loan from Wells Fargo for $100,000 for Thanksgiving.”
The charity is trying not to dip too heavily into the loan, but donations dropped off by about 20 percent for the group’s 40th year of Thanksgiving meals, she added.
Omilami and others attributed the decline to the constant drumbeat of need drawing aid to other charities.