By Chad Frey
It might feel a little early to be thinking about Christmas — but for the Salvation Army this is the time to get started. Annually their gift list is one of the longest as the organization tries to help make Christmas a happy holiday for area families and children.
This year may prove to be more challenging than years past.
"We need financial help," said Barbara Lee, director of the Salvation Army of Harvey County.
Right now the Salvation Army has one small box of toys designated for Christmas gifts — and the application process for the program begins Oct. 1.
"We are really starting from scratch this year," Lee said.
In 2012 This the organization served 200 families — about 400 children — through the Angel Tree and toy drive efforts. Some of the donations — like one of gift cards for Wal-Mart, came in late last year. Those cards came Christmas eve — after the toy distribution. Staff delivered them to homes of families who otherwise may not have received assistance with Christmas.
It is not known if that donation will happen again. And this year, one big donation will not happen at all. Organizers of the annual "Toy Run" motorcycle drive have told the Salvation Army the event will not happen this year.
That represents a loss of $2,000 in cash and 700 donated toys.
"Right now we do not have any other resource, and we have no money or toys left," Lee said.
Meaning that the organization has a few weeks to find a way to make up for the loss.
"We were thinking of ringing bells we don't normally to to, or doing some community competitions," Lee said. "Those are some thoughts …. but I don't think this has all sunk in quite yet."