Deadline to register for help from holiday assistance program near

Posted at 7:13 AM, Nov 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-16 07:14:35-05

When she needed help making sure her children had something to celebrate Christmas, Karen Foland turned to the Salvation Army. At this time of the year, a lot of people need that in their life.

Now, on the other side, Foland is the first person families see when they sign up.

Even though there's less than a week left to get on the list, Foland hasn't seen many families.

"I don't know why they aren't coming," she says.

For major Alan Hellstrom it's down to a guessing game.

"It could be the real nice weather and people aren't in the Christmas mood yet," Hellstrom suggests, "could have been the elections and distractions."

He says about 240 families who used the program last year haven't come in yet, and he says it isn't because the need dropped off since more families are asking for utility assistance and using the food pantry.

The need is still there, and people need to come in and sign up. But there is another problem as well: red kettle donations are down by about $10,000 compared to this time last year.

"It has to keep pace and pick up pace in order for us to hit our goal by the end of the year," explains Hellstrom.

But that won't stop them from doing the most good with whatever help they get.

"When we have parents and families walk through our toy shop, and we see the reaction that they really appreciate what we're doing why, because they're truly needy. We help provide a good Christmas to many children," smiles Hellstrom.

And Foland agrees that's what makes the hours of volunteering worth it:

"To have the opportunity to give back and see kids smile, make me know you have a purpose," she says.

The deadline to sign up for the holiday assistance program is Friday, November 18th.

For more information, click here. Or you can call 517-484-4424 for help or if you want to volunteer you can call 517-482-9715.