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Where to Get Help

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Charitable requests have risen in the past few years and organizations are struggling to reach everyone. The demand for help is so high, some of these organizations close applications for holiday help, including Thanksgiving meals, as early as August. Please contact them early.

If you miss the deadlines, a shelter, food bank or local church is your best bet to get a little holiday assistance.

If you want to help, I have lists of food banks, shelters and toy donation services that could use the time, goods and money. These lists are also good places to find help. Some of them help individuals directly, others only help organizations.

You can contact each organization for more information and application deadlines.

1. Salvation Army

The Salvation Army's Angel Tree program takes applications in late October. Those who qualify for applications are low income families with children younger than twelve years old or families who need help providing food during the holidays. Qualified families can apply to get help with their Christmas gifts for children and food boxes.

If you missed that deadline, you can still get a meal in the shelter. 501-374-9296.

2. The United Way

The United Way provides free holiday food and toy assistance to qualified candidates. In the past, they've done a Christmas Luncheon where they feed kids, let them meet Santa and provide each with a gift. It's a pretty fun event for kids. Call 501-376-4567.

3. Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots is a U.S. Marine Corps charity that collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December annually for Christmas. Most of us in Little Rock know the big motorcycle parade near War Memorial Stadium's Toy Hill. They collected a lot of toys, but Toys for Tots does not accept individual family requests. They supply toys to organizations who handle those request. A list of organizations and contact information can be found by clicking on the title link. These organizations all have different deadlines for requests, so call early.

4. Freecycle

You can find some pretty awesome stuff on Freecycle, and it's all free. During the holidays, you have to act fast, but sometimes they have things like bikes, coats and some other neat stuff. Clothing is really popular, and sometimes electronics items. They might not be the most up-to-date items, but it's worth checking out. Craigslist is another place to find free or inexpensive items.

5. Thrift Stores

You can get some great deals on toys and clothes in thrift stores. I recommend the big Goodwill on 109 Markham Park Drive. There are plenty of others to choose from.

6. Local Food Banks

Some of these food banks only supply food to local shelters, but others take applications from individuals. If you need access to a local shelter, check the shelter list.

7. Local Churches

Around the holidays, churches collect food and items to donate. Though it's, of course, better to go to your own church for assistance, if you don't attend a church and are in need many will reach out to non-parishioners, especially for food requests.

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