So far during this holiday season, 737 local families have applied to the Lawrence Holiday Bureau, and 319 of them have been "adopted" for Christmas, according to Sherri Cannon, director of Ballard Center.
"We really need people to call and adopt a family," Cannon said.
She said families can apply for assistance until Friday at the participating agencies, which are Ballard Center, the Salvation Army, Penn House, Douglas County Senior Services and the Lawrence Indian Center.
Likewise, local residents who are interested in helping a family should call one of those agencies. This morning, Cannon said Penn House appears to have the fewest families adopted. That agency has applications from 207 families, and only 85 of them have been adopted.
Local residents can help with the Holiday Bureau in a variety of ways, but, usually, local families or groups agree to "adopt" a needy family. The helping family will purchase enough food for the family to eat on Christmas Day, one new gift item for each member of the family and one new toy for each child.
Sometimes, if people feel they cannot adopt a family by themselves, they'll agree to buy part of the items, and someone else will provide the rest, said Cannon.
The names of the families who apply for assistance are kept confidential. The helping groups receive only the ages, sizes and some clothing or toy suggestions.