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Archive for Saturday, November 22, 2008

Social services brace for ‘new faces’

More clients appeal to agencies this year

Salvation Army volunteer Arthur Elmer puts together bologna sandwiches within the food pantry area of the shelter to be given away later Friday at the Salvation Army, 946 N.H. Shelter workers explained that the demand for food and living assistance is much higher than what the shelter has to offer because of a lack of donations.

Salvation Army volunteer Arthur Elmer puts together bologna sandwiches within the food pantry area of the shelter to be given away later Friday at the Salvation Army, 946 N.H. Shelter workers explained that the demand for food and living assistance is much higher than what the shelter has to offer because of a lack of donations.

November 22, 2008

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Social services brace for ‘new faces’

Local social service agencies are gearing up to help families. One local organization has already seen its number of clients rise by 10 percent from last year. Enlarge video

Salvation Army volunteer Arthur Elmer puts together bologna sandwiches within the food pantry area of the shelter to be given away later Friday at the Salvation Army, 946 N.H. Shelter workers explained that the demand for food and living assistance is much higher than what the shelter has to offer because of a lack of donations.

Salvation Army volunteer Arthur Elmer puts together bologna sandwiches within the food pantry area of the shelter to be given away later Friday at the Salvation Army, 946 N.H. Shelter workers explained that the demand for food and living assistance is much higher than what the shelter has to offer because of a lack of donations.

Linda Lassen’s involvement with Penn House began shortly after the social service agency opened in 1969. She started as a volunteer and today serves as program director.

So she’s seen lots of ups and down in the economy — and in her clients’ lives.

This holiday season, Lassen predicts more people will contact organizations such as Penn House for assistance with food, Christmas gifts and paying utility bills.

Penn House, 1055 Pa., operates a free clothing pantry, emergency food bank and emergency utility assistance for people in Douglas County.

“There are new faces I haven’t seen before that’s come in and applied for Christmas (adoptions) and food,” Lassen said.

Penn House has already received 200 adopt-a-family applications from families in need, Lassen said. Families, businesses and other organizations can adopt a family, providing them with food and gifts. Almost half of families have already been adopted.

“I’m actually kind of feeling good because usually I don’t get a whole lot of adoptions until after Thanksgiving,” she said.

Andrew Brown, director of Human Services programs for Ballard Community Services, an umbrella organization that Penn House falls under, said he expects the number of families that participate in the adopt-a-family program to reach about 400, the same amount as last year.

But, he thinks it may be the first time some of the families have requested help around the holidays.

“We’ve seen a 10 percent increase in the number of services that we’re providing, and we also have seen a lot of new clients that are people whose incomes are much closer to the top of our income guidelines rather than being lower income,” he said.

Clothing and food donations are up at Ballard, but monetary donations are down. And that affects the agency’s Emergency Service Council, which provides funds to those who cannot pay their rent or utility bills.

“We just have an overwhelming amount of demand for utility assistance,” Brown said.

Perhaps the seemingly nonstop news about economic hard times throughout the nation have made Lawrence residents more aware that others need their help.

“I think people have really been aware that it’s a time when others who traditionally give might not be able to, so people dig a little bit deeper,” he said.

Comments

Lori Tapahonso 6 years ago

where can someone go to help and who do we call?

Loretta James 6 years ago

Penn House,Ask for Linda Lassen 842-0440, Ballard Center, Salvation army. or Douglas County senior services.They can use anything from money, gift cards or people to adopt families, and food donations.

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