(11/28/12) - The holidays are fast approaching, and the Salvation Army is helping to make it a happy season for people in need across Mid-Michigan.
Due to high demand, a late holiday assistance sign-up period began Wednesday morning for Genesee County residents.
"The phone has been ringing off the hook. We have people calling everyday, multiple calls coming in," said Connie Peters, with the Salvation Army.
More than 800 Genesee County families signed up for the The Salvation Army's Holiday Assistance program before the early November the deadline passed. However, many more have expressed a need for help. Due to the flurry of phone calls, the Army has launched a late sign-up period. Between now and Friday, late applications are being accepted, in person, at the Kearsley Street office.
"We're going to intake as many people as we can the next couple of days. They can come from 9 until 2:30. You don't need an appointment, just get in here, because we want everyone to celebrate Christmas," Peters said.
The Genesee County branch isn't the only Mid-Michigan branch still taking applications.
"Midland, Bay City, Saginaw, Owosso, they're all still accepting late help. Just call and check with them," said Major Kris Augenstein of the Salvation Army.
Peters has found that this season, there are more first time families applying - and for a rather new reason.
"It's the sizes of the families. They've increased because you're getting maybe an aunt or uncle that can't afford to live in their home anymore because of illness or job loss or some other change in their lifestyle. They're forced to move in with family members and friends," she said.
That increase in numbers is putting the Army in a bit of pinch.
"With all the families coming in, our ages are from infant up to 14 years old and really the donations that we need right now are toys. We're very, very short on toys this year," Peters said.
In order to accommodate this big, last minute rush of applicants, the Salvation Army is looking for a little help. They're asking for more businesses to step up and offer to host an angel tree.
"Put those children's wishes out there, and then people can take a tag for whatever child group they want, and they can purchase a toy for around $20. If they can donate that, that would be awesome," Peters said.
Bring a valid ID, proof of dependants, current bills, and proof of income if you wish to sign up.
For more information, click HERE.
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