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November 2, 2009

Valley Salvation Army offering programs to help during holidays

TERRE HAUTE — Vigo County residents needing a helping hand during the holidays can apply starting today for a variety of programs at the Salvation Army.

From 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday for the next two weeks, families can sign up for holiday assistance through The Salvation Army, 234 S. Eighth St. The final day applications will be accepted is Nov. 13.

The Christmas holiday programs are the Tribune-Star Food Baskets, Toys for Tots for children up to age 12, Christmas With Police (formerly known as Shop With A Cop), Adopt-A-Family and Bikes for Tykes.

Also, the Light House Mission will have a representative there to take applications for Thanksgiving meal assistance only.

The Salvation Army has become a kind of clearinghouse for Christmas charity efforts in the community, explained social services director Cathy White.

With one agency organizing the programs, confusion and duplication of services is reduced, White said. There are other groups in the community, such as churches and Covenant Cooperative Ministries, which offer other holiday assistance. But applicants are restricted to receiving assistance from only one agency, White said.

Once the applications are received, they will be processed to match the needs and the services available.

“It is not first-come, first-served,” White said. “Sometimes, it’s age-based, such as Toys for Tots or Christmas With Police, and they can’t do some of the programs two years in a row.”

One of the goals for this year is to add a gift for teenagers in families where the younger children are receiving toys. In the past, gifts had been limited to children up to age 12.

The Adopt-A-Family program provides a whole Christmas to a family, she explained, by sending not only gifts but also a meal. Therefore, families who are “adopted” will not be eligible for the toys or food basket programs because those needs already will have been addressed.

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