The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona, a chapter that serves northern Gila County, is facing a budget shortfall of $400,000, according to chapter president Brian Hassett.
BBBS collects clothes and small household appliances in its donation boxes, then trucks them to Savers, a for-profit thrift store chain. Savers pays BBBS for the clothes.
In a good week, 145,000 pounds are collected. That number has dropped to 125,000 pounds.
Locally, Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers collect between $13,000 and $14,000 worth of clothes for the Central Arizona chapter, said local director, Robert Henley.
A larger amount is raised through the annual Bowl for Kids Sake event, scheduled for Aug. 12 at Rim Country Lanes.
In 2006, Rim Country bowlers raised approximately $30,000.
Locally, the BBBS budget includes two part-time salaries for a director, Henley, and a program specialist, Ginger Sparks, plus the basic office supply costs. The local BBBS serves 20 to 40 "Littles" at any given time.
The local chapter of BBBS keeps its own bank account, so money raised here stays here. But locally raised money does not cover 100 percent of local operations, Henley said.
"If you haven't cleaned the closet in a while, we are asking that you take another look and help us out," Hassett said.
Clothes may be donated in BBBS drop boxes located at Lumbermen's in Star Valley, the Rye Bar and Grill in Rye, behind the Payson Senior Circle building and on the west side, in the Sawmill Crossing parking lot in Payson.
Financial donations are also appreciated and may be sent to BBBS of Central AZ, P.O. Box 2956, Payson, AZ 85541. Parents who wish to sign up their child, or adults who wish to volunteer, may call (928) 468-8375 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.