December 14, 2005 -- Posted at 10:00 a.m. CST
Jonesboro, AR-- It's Christmas time, when families get together for feast and fellowship. Kids awake Christmas morning with smiles on their face as they see what Santa brought them. But for some kids in Region 8, their may not be many smiles Christmas morning.
There are over 700 families that use the Salvation Army for assisstance during the winter months. They try to fill each family a box full of items for a Christmas Dinner: a turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and vegetables. But right now, the food pantry is pretty dry and they estimate having to spend over $5,000 at the food bank just for green beans, corn, and stuffing.
So where do they come up with that kind of money? If you've ever seen those bell ringers with their red kettles outside the supermarket, then you know. But this year, donations are down, and their kettles aren't bringing in enough money.
Families can also sign up for help for their children. Each family goes through an interview to determine what the child needs such as clothes and what sizes, and then a few wish list items. Capt. Stephanie Greenham with the Salvation Army says that those items are wish list items and you don't necessarily have to buy that exact item.
"Kids will be kids. And just because they are poor or can't afford that toy, they see it on tv and they want it just as much as any other child. But we tell the parents in the beginning that they may not get those items, and the parents completely understand."
"Sometimes someone will get one angel, spend $200 on them, and while that's great there will be some children left without anything, and sometimes that will be a brother or sister to the child with over $200 worth of gifts. And we guarantee that all items bought for the angel will only go to that angel."
But the real problem is, the angels are still hanging on the tree. Over 150 angels need to be adopted before Christmas, and this is the last week.