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Holiday Gift for 24 Nonprofits

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PLAINS TOWNSHIP -- In the past few weeks, Newswatch 16 told you about a number of non-profit groups in our area struggling to make ends meet for those in need. But on Wednesday, twenty-four organizations in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wyoming Counties received total of $55,000 in donations.

Check after check after check handed out during a luncheon at the Woodlands near Wilkes-Barre. It was a total of $55,000 spread among 24 nonprofit organizations. The money comes from M&T Bank.

"Most charities always have more demand for their services than they can provide. So I think any amount that anyone can give provides that extra boost," said M&T Bank Regional President Phil Johnson.

M&T officials said the bank had an excess of money in this year's budget, so they decided to donate it. It was a better gift than the Wilkes-Barre YMCA executive director could have asked for.

"Special, because families are always struggling and at this time of year, and it's just that little bit of help that makes their Christmas a little bit nicer," said Wilkes-Barre YMCA executive director Jim Thomas.

Liz Vincent from Volunteers of America said its share of the donation will be used for the baby pantry, used by single, low-income mothers. The baby pantry provides things such as diapers and formula.

"We're not going to turn anybody away, and this is a time of year that's really tough," said Volunteers of America marketing director Liz Vincent.

Vincent said the donation from M&T will allow them to re-stock these shelves and help mothers provide for their children.

"We have seen a substantial increase in the amount of moms reusing diapers and watering down formula since food stamps have been cut over the last couple of months," said Vincent.

Vincent hopes this extra chunk of change will help those mothers, along with those helped by the other nonprofits that got to share in M&T's generosity.