The Warm Hearts program, which helps low-income families pay for winter heating bills, officially kicked off its campaign Monday.
Sherri Cannon, coordinator of seven local social service agencies that take applications for the program, said the goal this year is to raise $70,000 for the program.
Jack Starkey, coordinator of publicity for Warm Hearts, said that "with the winter coming on and looking at how many families we took care of last year," the program probably will be sorely needed this year.
Cannon said that more than 1,000 people in about 360 families were assisted by the program last year. She said about $60,000 was raised last year for Warm Hearts.
People who want to contribute to the program may send donations to Warm Hearts, P.O. Box 1555, Lawrence 66044. People may apply for assistance starting Jan. 4.
People can apply at the Ballard Community Center, Douglas County Senior Services, ECKAN, Penn House, the Lawrence Indian Center, the Salvation Army and the Help Connection in Eudora. Applicants need to bring proof of income, a shut-off notice from the utility company, and proof that they made payments on their utility bills within the past three months.
Warm Hearts also can assist people who use propane or wood as a main fuel source.
WARM HEARTS is just one of many local programs through which people can help others in need. Here are some other assistance programs that will operate during the holiday season:
The Holiday Bureau, which provides holiday dinners and presents to families that are supported anonymously by local individuals and businesses, also is seeking donations, people to adopt families, and volunteer help.
Cannon, coordinator of the program, said more than 1,000 families were assisted last year. She estimates that 1,250 to 1,500 families may require help this year. People can apply for assistance at six social service agencies through Friday. Applicants should have proof of income, Social Security cards for all members of the household, and proof of Douglas County residency, such as a driver's license or utility bill.
People who want to donate or adopt a family can contact one of the six agencies participating in the Holiday Bureau: Penn House, Lawrence Indian Center, Douglas County Senior Services, Salvation Army, Ballard Community Center, and the Help Connection in Eudora.
THE THIRD ANNUAL "Toys for Tots Remember the Feeling" telethon will be broadcast from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 13 on Sunflower Cablevision Channel 6, but new toys or cash donations for a toy are being accepted now. They may be dropped off at the Sunflower Cablevision office, 644 N.H., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
Sunflower and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve are sponsoring the drive. The 1991 telethon brought in more than 5,500 toys and provided gifts for more than 700 children in Douglas County. This year's need is expected to be greater, according to family registrations at the Salvation Army and other area service agencies.
The Salvation Army seeks volunteers, donations and people to adopt families in need. Volunteers are being sought for its annual bell-ringing campaign. Lawrence has 15 bell-ringing sites this year.
The Salvation Army also is organizing a Christmas dinner at noon on Dec. 23 at the Salvation Army gym, 946 N.H. Organizers are seeking volunteers to help prepare the dinner.
The Flamingo Club, 501 N. Ninth, will hold a similar dinner at Christmas and will seek volunteers to help with its event.
THE ANNUAL "Share the Warmth" coat drive, organized by Scotch Fabric Care Services and the Salvation Army, already has been completed, and coats are ready for distribution.
The coat distribution will be from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at 611 Vt. A distribution also will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. No applications are necessary.