A 3-year-old boy who is terminally ill and whose parents have requested that all Christmas presents go to him this year is a member of one local family that has not yet been "adopted" in the annual Holiday Bureau drive.
Sherri Cannon, director of the Ballard Center, said she didn't have exact figures Friday afternoon but that about 200 families of the 783 that applied have not yet been provided Christmas baskets.
She said the family with the terminally ill child has made her and the other agencies especially determined to provide a Christmas.
"The family didn't want anything else, only toys this boy could play with in the hospital, because this might be his last Christmas," she said. "We were confused for a while, because they had written all their names on the application and then crossed them out. They wanted the 3-year-old to get the gifts."
Local residents who are interested in helping a family should call one of the agencies participating in Holiday Bureau: Ballard Center, the Salvation Army, Penn House, Douglas County Senior Services and the Lawrence Indian Center.
People can help with the Holiday Bureau in a variety of ways, but local families or groups usually agree to "adopt" a needy family.The helping group 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.
Cannon suggested that people who want to help should call the agency of their choice and find out whether they need any items in particular, such as food, clothing or toys.
The names of the families who apply for assistance are kept confidential. The helping groups will receive only the ages, sizes and some clothing or toy suggestions.