Salvation Army requests for holiday asssistance down here

Published 8:04 am Wednesday, November 17, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The number of families which have applied for holiday assistance here is significantly lower this than in previous years, said Dan Voss of the Niles Salvation Army.
Currently, only 56 families have applied for assistance.
Last year at the same time, the Salvation Army had received approximately 80 to 100 applications, said Voss, corps administrator for the Salvation Army of Niles.
Voss recently announced the deadline for families to apply for Christmas assistance has been extended to Nov. 30.
The decision to extend the deadline from Nov. 19 was made due to the number of applications being below the Salvation Army's expectations.
Through the army's daily emergency social service assistance, Voss knows there are many more families than the number that have applied which need help this holiday season.
The Salvation Army offers three kinds of family assistance during the holidays. The first, and probably most well-known, is the adopt-a-family program.
The program is designed to help families with children under the age of 18. Typically, local agencies, businesses, clubs and individuals "adopt" a needy family and provide food for Christmas dinner and gifts for the children in the household.
If a family doesn't wish to be adopted, they can choose to receive assistance through the Salvation Army Toy Shop program.
Through the program, each family receives a turkey and some food, but adults can come and "shop" for gifts for their children.
The Salvation Army receives the toys which stock the toy shop from community donations and from the United States Marine Corps' Toy for Tots program.
The third assistance program offered is the Christmas Baskets program, which is designed for families without children, but still need assistance.
Army volunteers will deliver baskets filled with a variety of foods to the needy families which sign up for the baskets program.
Last year, the Salvation Army of Niles helped over 200 families through the Toy Shop and about 50 Christmas baskets were delivered to needy families, Voss said.
There were also more than 150 needy families adopted last year, making for a merry Christmas for the families involved in the three programs.
Individuals wishing to receive assistance during the holiday season can apply at the Salvation Army of Niles, 424 N. 15th St., from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Nov. 25 and 26, when they will be closed.
Those applying for assistance must bring a valid picture I.D., social security cards for each family member, and proof of household income.
The Salvation Army will also begin its annual red kettle bell ringing campaign at local businesses beginning Nov. 26 and running through Dec. 24.
The Salvation Army of Niles receives approximately 75 percent of its annual budget from donations made into those little red kettles, Voss said.
There will be six locations where volunteers will be ringing bells in Niles. The five confirmed locations are Harding's Market, Save-A-Lot, Radio Shack, Big Lots, and Legus Shell. Wal-Mart hasn't been confirmed as a location, but Voss expects them to confirm their involvement soon. Voss said their is a significant need for volunteers to ring the bells at the locations, anyone interested should contact Dan or Amy Voss at the Salvation Army of Niles by calling (269) 684-2660.