CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Yvonne Hissom wonders what her late father and grandfather would think about the dwindling support of the Kanawha Valley's oldest mission project.
"We're not getting the help we used to. Since the economy hit, our donations have decreased, but our clientele hasn't. People don't stop needing," said Hissom, who took over as director of the Hissom Intercity Mission when her father, Earl G. Hissom III, died in 2007.
HIM has been serving Charleston's needy since 1934 and operates a food pantry, a thrift store and offers transitional housing and other services.
Since 2009, the mission's list of people in need of its services has increased by 30 percent while its donations have decreased by 80 percent.
The mission used to receive about 30,000 pounds of food donations a month. Now, average shipments are about 4,000 pounds, according to Yvonne.
"My family's motto, and the mission's motto, has always been, 'We see a need, we fill it.' It's sad because this is the first time in years I've had to actually look at people and tell them I can't help," she said. "We are the people who are supposed to help others, and we need help ourselves."
The mission is supported entirely by donations and has never received federal funding.
While the organization is struggling financially, it is not lacking in support from volunteers.
"We have a small but mighty army. Most of our volunteers come from our food pantry line, and they are wonderful, caring people. They're really amazing," Yvonne said. "The people who have less often give more."
David Groves has been working as a volunteer at the mission for 15 years.