Local assistance programs in need of donations during holiday season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's the time of year that's all about giving, and many assistance programs around the metro are in need of donations.

Kansas City is holding its 10th annual ugly Christmas sweater party at Martini Corner near Gillham Road and 31st Street to benefit Operation Breakthrough, which helps children living in poverty in our area.

It starts at 7:30 Friday night, but besides Operation Breakthrough, there are many other organizations in need of help this holiday season.

"Our food distribution almost doubles during this season," said Matt Sanning, the assistant director at Lee's Summit Social Services.

He says while donations are needed all year round, the stock seems to fly off the shelves faster during the holidays.

"People are also feeling a significant pinch during this time of year," added Sanning, who says the organization accepts virtually everything, but food is needed most.

"We serve 100 plus families in any given week," Sanning said.

"During the holiday season we have a lot of families who have a spike in those gas bills, electric bills, and just trying to keep those utilities on," said Holly Grimwood, the assistant director at Raytown Emergency Assistance Program -- or REAP.

She says because of other expenses, it's hard to families to be able to afford basic necessities, let alone food for the holidays.

"During the holiday season there tends to be a lot of pressure on families to provide so much," added Grimwood.

Not only does REAP provide food, but they even have a Christmas store this time of year, so people can donate trees and toys too.

"For us to be able to give a three-year-old a nice Christmas, they can go to school the next day and focus on their studies, instead of focusing on the fact that they didn't  get anything under the tree Christmas morning," Grimwood said.

"Every family should be able to enjoy the holiday season, they should be able to enjoy it with family, and they should be able to enjoy it with full bellies and a warm home to be in," added Sanning.

It's $50 to attend the holiday party and the money goes toward Operation Breakthrough.