With the help of the Salvation Army, no family will be left in the economic lurch this Christmas.
The Elkhart and Goshen Salvation Armies are holding signups for their Christmas Assistance programs this week and the week after.
Last year, the Christmas Assistance program in Elkhart helped 865 needy families in the community, whether by providing them with personal care baskets, giving them grocery vouchers or by allowing other local families and businesses to adopt them for the Christmas season. This year, they will do it again.
"We're really looking for people this year to help with personal care baskets," said Julie Poertner of the Elkhart Salvation Army. They invite community members to donate laundry baskets filled with things like shampoo and laundry soap. The Salvation Army will then distribute these baskets, along with a Martin's Super Markets gift certificate, to any family that signs up for the Christmas Assistance program.
The Goshen branch doesn't give grocery vouchers or personal care baskets. Instead, it distributes ham or turkey Christmas meals to families right before Christmas.
Families with children younger than age 14 will also have the opportunity to sign up for the Toys for Tots program.
Some families can be matched with an adopter -- whether a family, a church or a local business -- who will give their family a personal care basket, a grocery voucher and two new toys for each child in the family.
There are no income restrictions established dictating who can and cannot sign up for the Christmas Assistance program.
Any families that may be in need this Christmas should sign up at the Salvation Army in Elkhart between today and Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 3 p.m., as well as the following week, Nov. 8 to Nov. 12, at the same times. Sign-ups will be held at the Goshen Salvation Army from Tuesday to Nov. 24 on Tuesdays from 1 to 5 p.m. and on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m.
To sign up for the program, families must bring the following: some kind of Indiana identification; Social Security cards for everyone in the family; birth certificates for children under 14; proof of income; and proof of expenses including rent receipts, utility bills, medical bills and others.