Archive for Tuesday, December 8, 2009

More families seeking help for holidays this year

A shopper passes a Tree of Stars gift tree Tuesday at Waxman Candles, 609 Mass. The gift trees offer customers a way to donate items to needy families.

A shopper passes a Tree of Stars gift tree Tuesday at Waxman Candles, 609 Mass. The gift trees offer customers a way to donate items to needy families.

December 8, 2009


Local charities short on donations

Local charities looking to help families in need this year are coming up short on donations. Local organizations are behind last year's numbers despite nearby towns seeing the opposite. Enlarge video

The holiday season is known for wintry weather, Wassailing and wanting to extend a helping hand.

This year, local agencies are hoping Douglas County residents feel the giving spirit because more and more families are asking for help.

The Ballard Center’s Holiday Bureau received 600 requests from families wanting to be adopted this year. That’s nearly double the applications the agency received last year. With just two weeks until Christmas, the agency still needs to find help for almost 250 families.

“It’s a huge worry,” CEO Dianne Ensminger said. “We’ve never not met the goal of serving everyone. We’ll do everything we can to find resources to meet the needs of everyone that’s applied.”

Besides adopting a family, there are other ways to help. The Tree of Stars program, in collaboration with Sunflower Broadband, is available in these Lawrence businesses: Crown Automotive, Waxman Candles, Montana Mike’s, Lawrence Athletic Center, Quiznos sub shops, Godfather’s Pizza, and Kitchen and Bath Designs. Paper stars hang on Christmas trees, each with a different gift request ranging from G.I. Joes to Hannah Montana gear. Donors can buy the items and drop them off at the Ballard Center, 708 Elm St., in North Lawrence. The items will be bundled to take care of families who aren’t adopted.

“(The families) don’t want to ask for help. They want to be the givers and not the receivers,” Ensminger said. “They don’t want to look at us in the eye because they’re ashamed of having to be here, but they don’t want their children to do without something.”

The Salvation Army in Lawrence has about 25 families left in its adoption program and it is also behind on gathering donations in the Red Kettle campaign. The goal for the campaign is $108,000. By the end of the season, the agency will help about 450 families.

“All the single moms with a couple of kids are adopted out,” Capt. Wes Dalberg said. “It’s those larger families or maybe it’s two adults with one child.”

Lawrence is going against the trend on donations. Dalberg said communities on both sides of Lawrence were ahead in collections.

“They’re up significantly, so I don’t know what’s happening here in Lawrence exactly,” Dalberg said. “We hope that, in the end, we’re up significantly as well.”

To adopt a family from the Ballard Center, call the agency, 842-0729. To adopt a Salvation Army family, call Susan, 843-4188.


HoneyDew 8 years ago

I called every agency in town late November and was told they would not be accepting applications until December 1st. I called the morning of December 1st and was told by EVERY agency that was no help left to give. This was our only chance to have a Christmas. I know many of the people that have been adopted, alot of them have roommates or boyfriends that help them with the bills, many are also perfectly able to work and choose not to. I have a feeling there may be a list of people given first dibs on services, even if I'm told that they won't help anyone until 8:00 am by 8:01am I'm told they have nothing. The people that live in Edgewood already get extremely reduced or FREE housing, FREE childcare, FREE food. What about the single (the actual single ones, not the ones with live in boyfriends) parents that get up every morning and go to their minimum wage jobs with their gas tanks on empty, praying for it to get you there just one more day - because you know your car is gone forever if it runs out of gas because you can't afford to get it towed. You know, the ones that stay up all night trying to figure out a way to survive through the winter? My children are sleeping in the living room right now in sleeping bags because our house doesn't have vents in the rooms and its 50 degrees in their room. I can't even afford a space heater. People that really need the help often don't get it because we are at WORK. I don't have the luxury of hitting up all of the food pantries, going to Penn House or Ballard for free stuff, and by the time I'm off work all of the scavengers have taken everything. I raced to the food pantry and made it with 5 minutes to spare the other day. I watched 2 very OBVIOUS heroin addicts take advantage of the church volunteers - they said they had 8 kids (they don't) and were given everything that the church had left. For goodness sake, if you don't NEED the help please let someone else get some for a change.

mr_right_wing 8 years ago

Where is The Obama Utopia he promised?! This kind of thing was supposed to be part of the past!! I'd say the inclusion of the word "more" would mean that less families needed help last year under Bush's rule. Barry is a good-for-nothing scrooge! Humbug mr. president.

Amy Heeter 8 years ago

The mind is like a parachute, it functions only when open. Times are difficult for alot of people. This time of year is especially bad for people who have children. The holiday season is filled with anxiety for people with children especially if the children are school age and old enough to see what other kids are getting vs what they are getting. Many parents feel inferior because they may not be able to afford lavish holiday gifts. Judging others is not going to make the holiday stresses lessen. Agencies are burdened all year round and that burden increases during this time of year. One thing that is sure though is hope springs eternal. success is not measured by what a person has but that that person continues to try. Having said that I have a space heater that I would be more than happy to give you.

CHANDLER007 8 years ago

Honeydew--I also have a space heater and some extra blankets and pillows to help you out if you'd like them.

CamandAddisonsmommy 8 years ago

Honeydew First I want to say that i doubt you called I know of three single moms that called at the beginning of November and was told that Dec 1 was the last day. With the struggle these agencies have every year do you think they would wait until the 1st??? I wasnt going to comment on this until you had to throw Edgewood into it I live in Edgewood but you know what I play full rent not reduced. I work my butt off and I dont get free childcare. Maybe if life is so bad for you that should move into Edgewood and get reduced rent. How did you know these two"heroin addicts" didnt have 8 kids?

I hope theses agencies can get some help.

Amy Heeter 8 years ago

Heaven forbid anyone would dis Edgewood. If you want to tell the whole truth- no Edgewood does not provide free childcare but rent is based on income and all utilities are paid. If you live in Edgewood you are roughly $300.00 a month ahead of anyone who lives in the surrounding community. You don't have the the right to imply anyone is a liar because they may have misunderstood when applications are being taken. Sure the poster came off a little hostile but as I said this is a very difficult time of year. Stress causes people to become bitter sometimes; have a little understanding. The working poor do slip through the cracks. For starters her point is valid about not being able to access services due to working. Most agencies are closed by the time people who work are done for the day. If a person has limited transportation options they may be stuck working in lawrence where wages are not comparable to Topeka or K.C. You can either be part of the solution or part of the problem. Can you guess where your comment placed you?

Kat Christian 8 years ago

Mr. right wing its because of Bush why we are in the state we are in. Obama is trying to clean up the mess Bush created for the past 8 years. Give the man a chance I think Obmam is heading in the right direction.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years ago

I know that St. Johns is running very low and took no applications the last two weeks of November. By the third of December the money to help this month was gone. I also know that you can't get free rent from the housing authority which runs Edgewood. You are required by low to pay something. The childcare might be free which is a good move since that is a major factor with all working families. I pray with all my heart for those who are in need. If everyone in Lawrence just donated one dollar to a fund and that money was spread around the agencies think of all the problems that would be taken care of. With just one dollar.

CamandAddisonsmommy 8 years ago

You guys can dis Edgewood all you want. I dont like putting my business out but I pay $600 a month to live in Edgewood and no all utilities arent paid. You should probably get your facts straight. I am not $300 ahead of everybody else because I am in debt after cost of my daughters liver transplant. I was not trying to be rude to her I was only saying how does she have rights to say who does or doesnt deserve help. I can understand her stress I think I have had my fair share of stress. my husband was working his butt off trying to suppost us while I lived at the hospital with my daughter.

Honeydew I hope you can find some help. Have you tried Santa Case??

HoneyDew 8 years ago

I was not aware some people pay that much to live in Edgewood, all of the people I know that live there pay anywhere from $1 to $50 dollars or have Sec. 8 and have 3 bedrooms and no kids, so I apologize to the other people struggling that I have offended, I should not have generalized. I am frustrated that SRS tells me if I quit my job I would make more money. I am sure that there are other single parents in town that don't get enough help, the point of my post was to point out that the help often does not go to those that need it. I taught at the Edgewood Headstart and have known many parents that did not work and it was free. I just got off work and read the responses, brought tears to my eyes, I forgot today that there are still nice people around. I wrote that this morning while I was watching my kids sleep and just felt horrible for them, I feel like a bad mom no matter how many times people tell me what an awesome one I am. I feel like I have failed them, they are perfect and deserve better. As far as the two heroin addicts I mentioned, I worked nights at a liquor store for years and know alot of the homeless in town. I have spent my whole life helping anyone in need that I can, I just hoped that someday someone would return the favor. I normally don't judge people at all, I just feel like the less you try the more help you get. Thanks you guys for the suggestions, I didn't know I might have other options :)

CamandAddisonsmommy 8 years ago

Honeydew I hope you also seen moms at Headstart that did work there butts off. I'm one of those mom my son at the age of 6 is still and will always be a Headstart Kid :) I felt the same way as you about SRS its like they want you to quit for job there income guildelines suck! I hope you can find something for your kids.

HoneyDew 8 years ago

You are absoloutely right, we have always been on the poverty level since I was a child, and when I think of my childhood it was a happy one because my mom always made sure we felt very loved and happy. I have been so stressed about money I felt like I couldn't do anything with them. I need to get more creative, you've inspired me :) Also, I would VERY much appreciate a space heater! The kids got sick last night and couldn't go to school today because of the cold in the house, I piled a million blankets on them and had the heat on 85 all night! Arrggh. My gas bill is gonna suck :( Sadly when I rented this place I didn't stop to check if there was more than one vent, I was just so happy to not have to live in a horrible neighborhood).

rocketmom67 8 years ago

There was an ad in the paper today for Toys for Tots. They do not have a deadline for assistance. Also, check with your school social worker or counselor for ideas about holiday assistance.

Loretta James 8 years ago

Honeydew this is for you. and the other lady bashing Penn House.

Penn House starts taking Christmas app's the 1 of november every year there is no way to get it all done if they dont start that early (common sense should tell you that). If you would call Penn House and talk to linda she might take your name and help with some toys at the end if she has some left.

You can also go to toys for tots after their done they usually have some nice stuff left. Call them to find out the date they will let the public in to get things.

you can also call around to some of the churches and some will help if they can.

That guy at penn house he worked there for about 12 years with no pay and he does have rules he has to follow so if he's suppose to put toys in the toy box that's where they go. Before people go bashing penn house they ought to go work there for a couple years for free and you will definately change your mind.

I volunteered there for 15 + years been cussed and pushed and took it because its penn house but people come there and act like animals.

Penn House may not be perfect but they help many people and kids so I will continue to give to penn house when ever i can.

I know im leaving something out but thats my mind working today always forgetting something.

Loretta James

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