Smith said in the past 30 days, the Salvation Army in Durham has had to turn away more than 900 people seeking emergency assistance.
The needy want help feeding their families, keeping the power on, and assistance keeping landlords from evicting them.
Smith said the majority have never come to the Salvation Army before, but have been forced into it after losing their jobs.
"It touches you to the heart when you get those calls … when the caller starts out by saying, 'I’m college educated and I’ve always had a good job. I never imagined I’d be asking The Salvation Army for help,'" said Smith.
Smith said the Salvation Army want to help - and it is getting donations - but the spike in demand has far outstripped its resources. Between June 22 and July 20, requests for assistance from the 900 who were turned away totaled more than $100,000. The Army was able to help 200 more with assistance that totaled just under $24,000.
The Salvation Army serves as part of Durham County’s Continuum of Care, and receives "last resort" referrals of households facing evictions and utility shutoffs from the Department of Social Services, among other organizations.
To make a gift to The Salvation Army’s Emergency Social Services, go to www.salvationarmydurham.org, click the Donate Here red kettle, and specify that your donation is for Durham Social Services in the "Specific Use" field that appears under the "Donation Amount."
Or send checks to: The Salvation Army Emergency Fund P.O. Box 1330 Durham, NC 27702-1330