With Christmas just around the corner, the local Salvation Army is preparing to make the holiday season a little bit better for hundreds of district residents.
There are still some openings for those in need of a Christmas hamper and individuals looking to utilize the program are encouraged to visit the local Salvation Army office (343 Scott St.) soon to fill out an application.
Applicants are asked to bring photo I.D. of everyone in their family as well as a tax statement or proof of income.
“If there's a need, we never turn anybody away,” noted Jill Pernsky, Salvation Army community ministries manager.
“We usually do at least 200 hampers over the Christmas season.”
The Salvation Army started their mailing for the annual “Adopt-a-Family" and "Sponsor-a-Family” programs last Wednesday with the details of how to get involved.
Those who choose to “adopt” a family decide how large of a family they wish to buy for and then purchase all of the food for their Christmas hamper along with gifts for the kids.
The program is completely anonymous and allows those with financial struggles to still have a happy holiday season.
“It's very important that the kids get the Christmas they deserve,” Pernsky stressed.
Those who receive the hampers and gifts from the Salvation Army leading up to Christmas are always incredibly grateful, she noted.
“It makes a special Christmas for the kids, and it's just a program for families with kids,” she explained.
“If the people who donate were here and saw the tears, the thank yous, and the hugs and their reactions when they realize that people have done this for them-it just makes it all worthwhile.”
Meanwhile, the “Sponsor-a-Family” program involves people donating the money required to purchase a Christmas hamper and gifts.
The programs service everywhere from Rainy River to Atikokan and has ran for several years.
Although more donations are always needed, Pernsky said Fort Frances is great for supporting their initiatives.
“I've always said this community is absolutely unbelievable in their generosity to our programs—we couldn't exist here without them,” she remarked.
The Christmas Kettle Campaign meanwhile, helps cover the costs of hampers and adopting families.
The campaign kicked off last Friday and individuals are currently collecting donations at Walmart and Safeway.
Other locations include the Cloverleaf in Emo, and at the start of December the LCBO will join the campaign as well.
The public is encouraged to donate to support those who are less fortunate through the holiday season.
“This year we have quite a few families that did not apply before, so there are extra families out there who have never had to use our services,” Pernsky explained.
“It's very important that these new people are covered as well.”
Pernsky also said she's encouraging the public to volunteer during the kettle campaign.
“A couple of hours out of your Christmastime would be wonderful,” she remarked.
Those looking to donate, volunteer, or get involved can call the Salvation Army's office at 274-3871.