EAU CLAIRE, Wis (WEAU)--Every year, hundreds of families across Western Wisconsin struggle to put a holiday meal together or presents under the Christmas tree. The Salvation Army is hoping to make this holiday a little brighter for those families, but they need your help.
The Eau Claire County Salvation Army has started collecting donations for the holiday assistance programs.
This year 587 families applied for help holiday meals and presents and they expect more people to come forward as the holidays get closer.
‘This has been a popular request this year,” said Alyssa Dawson, Salvation Army Holiday Coordinator.
Dawson says, during the holiday’s, the Salvation Army tries to help families with things most of us take for granted.
"If they can't make ends meet at home they are obviously not going to be able to make put presents underneath the tree for their family or buy a turkey and that’s where we can come in and help them get the tools they need to do that,” said Dawson.
And one important piece of any holiday is food! Dawson says they try to give any family that applies a gift card for food at a local grocery store.
"The food cards are paid for through donations that we get and they help supplement the dinners for the family,” said Dawson.
Last year the Salvation Army raised $140,000 through cash donations and their red kettle campaign, an amount Dawson says they're hoping to top this year.
She says they ask people to give as much or as little as they can.
"While you are out shopping for Christmas for your family just grab an extra toy and to throw in one of the bins," said Dawson.
There are 60 donation drop-off sites across Eau Claire County like this one at mega on Hastings way where you can drop off books and toys.
“We don’t want you to feel like you have to spend a lot just something for them to put underneath the Christmas tree,” said Dawson.
The normal application process for holiday assistance through the Salvation Army has wrapped up. But donations are still being accepted and if there are left over money or toys, families can come in on a first come first serve basis. For more on how you can donate or volunteer visit www.ringbells.org