KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Thanksgiving is over, so now it's time to prepare for the next holiday. If you're still looking for a little help this year, the Christmas clock is ticking.
There are some assistance programs still available, but the deadlines are quickly approaching.
“There's an extra high demand on charities this time of year, so the services available are stretched really thin,” said Larry Bigus, executive director of the Johnson County Christmas Bureau.
It's supposed to be a joyous time of year, but the pressure is on for many families who can't afford even basic necessities and have nothing to put under the tree.
“The holidays are really hard, much harder for families in poverty than the other 365 days of the year, and everybody is hoping and praying for a Christmas miracle,” said Judy Akers, executive director at Della Lamb Community Services.
There are tons of organizations across the metro who step up to help, but often families miss the cutoff to get that help.
But it’s not too late this year -- at least, not yet.
“We distribute winter coats, children's clothing, holiday gifts for everyone in the family and a lot of other items to help our neighbors get through the holiday season,” Bigus said.
The Johnson County Christmas Bureau helps low income families in Johnson County. People who meet certain guidelines are given the chance to shop the bureau for free.
An organization close to our hearts at Fox 4 is the Fox 4 Love Fund for Children's Sack It For Santa program.
“This is the only program in the Kansas City metro area that focuses on giving gifts specifically to teens in the area,” said Allyson Summers, executive director of the Fox 4 Love Fund For Children.
The Love Fund partners with CVS and other companies around the metro to fill sacks full of necessities and gifts for teens ages 13-18.
“Those are the kids that are often overlooked,” Summers said.
Sacks must be dropped off by Dec. 10.
More than 4,400 people have already signed up for Della Lambs's Operation Santa Program, which provides food and other items.
“Operation Santa provides a new sweat suit, new underwear, new socks, new hat an gloves for each child, one large new toy, a small trinket toy, a filled Santa stocking (and a) new story book for every child. There are mom and dad gifts, teenage gifts,” Akers said.
Della Lamb is accepting applications for Christmas assistance through Wednesday morning.
If you're hoping to spread a little holiday cheer, these organizations are still in need of a little help.
Find more information on how to give or receive help from each of these programs here:
- Email clientservices@JCCB.org to request an application to receive help from the Johnson County Christmas Bureau or visit the organization's website for more information or to donate.
- Email email@example.com to apply for a sack from The Fox4 Love Fund For Children’s Sack It For Santa Program. Go to the program's website to get involved or make a donation.
- Visit Della Lamb's website for more on Operation Santa.
Additionally, the Salvation Army in the Kansas City metro area is still accepting Christmas assistance applications.
Eligible families and seniors age 65 and older are welcome to apply in person at a local Salvation Army community center. Families and seniors who qualify for Christmas assistance may receive food for holiday meals and toys for children in the family.
Applicants should call their local Salvation Army for specific information, including what to bring to provide proof of eligibility. This includes items such as a photo ID, proof of income, proof of residency -- such as a current utility bill -- and verification of children age 14 or younger in the household.
These are the Salvation Army locations that are still accepting applications:
KCK: 6723 State Ave., Kansas City, Kan.
- Nov. 28 from 1-6 p.m.
Northland: 5306 N. Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, Mo.
- Nov. 28 from 4-6:30 p.m.
- Dec. 5 from 4-6:30 p.m.
- Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m.
- Dec. 12 from 4-6:30 p.m.
Grandview/Southland: 6111 E. 129th St., Grandview, Mo.
- Nov. 28 from 2-6 p.m.
- By appointment only after Nov. 28
Westport: 500 W. 39th St., Kansas City, Mo.
- Nov. 28 from 8-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m.
- Nov. 29 from 9-11:30 a.m.
- Nov. 30 from 8-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m.
Additionally, The Salvation Army will host its annual Christmas Day Community Dinner on Dec. 25, which is one of the organization’s longtime Kansas City traditions.
The dinner is free and open to the public, with nearly 500 people expected to attend. The Christmas Dinner is served at The Salvation Army Linwood Center at 101 W. Linwood, Kansas City, Missouri.
The Salvation Army and its volunteers will also transport Christmas meals to home-bound and elderly individuals as part of this meal service.