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NanaFinds is collecting posts on organizations helping families in need find assistance during the Christmas holiday, including receiving Christmas gifts for their children. I’ve taken the liberty to copy the news-worthy posts so that those in need of Christmas help and those in the position to offer help to the organizations may easily find this valuable information. If you know of organizations offering help to families this Christmas by providing gifts, dinners, clothing, etc., please leave the information in the comment box below this post. Thank you!

New families in need during holidays
Rise in families that need assistance
Updated: Monday, 09 Nov 2009, 9:40 PM EST
Published : Monday, 09 Nov 2009, 9:40 PM EST
by Tiffanie Dismore

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – As the holiday season draws closer, organizations are coming together to help families in need. The Salvation Army and Lafayette Urban Ministries have Christmas assistance programs for families who can’t afford to provide a Christmas for their children.

LUM is helping 591 families this year including more than 1500 children in their Jubilee Christmas program. Salvation Army Corp Officer Nelson De La Vergne said they have seen 50 more families in their Christmas assistance program this year. That’s a 15 percent increase from 2008.

“We keep talking about the economy and that has affected us,” said De La Vergne. “We’ve seen a lot of new families this year and they will probably only be here for one year and get back on their feet.”

“A lot of new ones,” said LUM program director Eileen Weiss. “A lot of new people this year that are hurting. And some stories that would really touch your heart.”

Lafayette Urban Ministries and the Salvation Army had applications people could fill out and apply for the programs. LUM’s Jubilee Christmas takes place on December 12, 2009 while the Salvation Army has their program the week before Christmas.

Both programs have tags for children that you can pick up to buy gifts. The tags indicate the child’s age and whether they are male or female.

The Salvation Army places them on trees around the community while LUM works together with over 28 churches in the area to buy gifts for the children.

Tags include infants to 12 years old in Jubilee Christmas and gift cards are given to parents to buy for their teenage children.

The Salvation Army provides presents for infants to teenagers 15 years old. They also encourage people to purchase gift cards for teenagers.

“We then place those on little cards that we place on little giving trees that we place throughout the community where families can come and take a card and buy items for that particular individual,” explained De La Vergne.

Parents will then be able to “shop” for their children when it is time to pick out toys.

“The purpose is that the parents be seen as the heroes in their children’s eyes,” Weiss said.

The Salvation Army gives families vouchers they can take to the grocery store to buy a Christmas dinner and the LUM program provides a meal for the family.

Weiss says donations are a big help during this season. They help provide more than just presents. Donations help provide a Christmas dinner for the families in the programs.

“Money is always the biggest thing we need because we do want to make sure the families have a good Christmas day dinner,” said Weiss.

Both programs stopped taking applications during the first week of November, but there are still other options available for families in need.

“We do our regular process, our regular food pantry and our regular assistance throughout the Christmas season so anybody that needs assistance will still receive some type of assistance,” said De La Vergne.

De La Vergne also said any toys they have left over will go towards families who missed the cut off date to apply.

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