Groups seek people to adopt families for holidays

A coalition of nonprofit organizations in Lawrence is seeking individuals, groups and businesses to adopt low-income Douglas County families for the Christmas holiday.

The agencies are asking for donations of new clothing, toys and other gift items in addition to a gift card for a holiday meal.

The holiday donation drive is called the “Holiday Bureau,” and it involves the following nonprofits: Ballard Center, Penn House, Salvation Army, the East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation (ECKAN) and Douglas County Senior Services.

Last year, these agencies helped 1,170 families.

To qualify, families must be Douglas County residents, provide Social Security cards for all family members, and the primary applicant must provide picture identification. Their annual household income also must be at 185 percent of the federal poverty level or less. That’s $27,214 for two or $41,348 for four.

Doug Davison, of the Ballard Center, said the need is great. “We’ve been taking calls every day from people asking when they can sign up.”

Davison said every bit helps and collectively, it will make a big difference for families this season.

To donate or sign up for the Holiday Bureau, contact the agencies before Dec. 1. Here’s the contact information followed by the number of families each helped in 2010.

• Ballard Center, 708 Elm St., 842-0729 — 318.

• Penn House, 1035 Pa., 842-0440 — 222.

• The Salvation Army, 946 N.H., 843-4188 — 375.

• ECKAN, 2518 Ridge Court, 841-3357 — 145.

• Douglas County Senior Services, 842-0543 — 110.