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Archive for Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Area agencies thankful for response to holiday programs; a few more donations needed

December 18, 2013

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Christmastime means organizations calling for gift donations from the public, and with less than a week until the holiday arrives, many of those groups in the Lawrence area say the public has answered the call.

Several agencies say that all or most of their donation needs have been met, though some still could use more support.

Just Food, for example, is still looking for donors to provide a Christmas dinner for more than 300 families, according to a call for donations email sent out by the organization. A donation of $13 provides a meal for one family and payment can be made online through Just Food's website, justfoodks.org.

Jeremy Farmer, executive director of Just Food, said nearly 700 families signed up for the program.

Meanwhile, other agencies praised Lawrence and the surrounding communities for a swift response to their donation calls.

The Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children in Douglas County is accepting Christmas stockings full of items for abused and neglected children. Diana Frederick, the director, said the response has been "tremendous," but there remains a shortage of items for babies and toddlers.

Frederick said items such as rattles, teething rings, blankets and other toys would be useful. The organization also houses a giving tree, where kids can take items from the tree and give them as presents to others. Items for this purpose are also being accepted, Frederick said. Donors can call 785-832-5172.

The Community Christmas Dinner Committee is also looking for a few more hams to lay out for its dinner at First United Methodist Church. Turkeys, pies and everything else have already been supplied, organizer Deb Engstrom said.

Becky Peters, a program and guest coordinator for Lawrence Family Promise, said its adoption program for homeless families and children has all families and more than 90 individuals accounted for.

Sylvia Crawford, executive director for The Villages Inc., said all of its children who are homeless or living in foster care or group homes have been adopted for its gift donation drive, which is also run by KVC Behavioral Health Care.

Crawford said donations are still being accepted for seven group homes, two of them in Lawrence. Items such as pillows, kitchen utensils, board games, towels, books and winter clothing would be appropriate. Donations can be made by contacting KVC Health Care, at 785-331-4200, ext. 6638; or The Villages Inc., at 785-267-5900, ext. 0.

About 120 individuals participating in programs by Community Living Opportunities submitted wish lists this year, and nearly all of them have been covered, according to Katie Castle, an administrative assistant. The program provides holiday gifts for individuals with developmental disabilities. To make an adoption, contact Castle at katiecastle@clokan.org.

An adopt-a-family program jointly run by Penn House, the East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation and the Salvation Army had all 111 families provided for as of Monday, according to Jim Evers, development director for the local Salvation Army.

The Douglas County Senior Services' adopt-a-senior program is also all filled up, according to community services manager Janet Ikenberry.

"Lawrence is just an amazing community for people in need, the community comes together and it's spectacular," Evers said.

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