More and more children are in need of basic items such as shoes, socks and underwear this year, according to Scott Horn of City Outreach Ministries.
In addition to providing numerous local families with Christmas this year, Horn is expanding his ministry to provide kids with many of their basic needs too. He needs help in accomplishing his mission.
"A lot of kids are coming to school without socks and that's so sad," Horn said.
City Outreach Ministries is hosting its annual Thanksgiving Dinner on Saturday. This is the time and place for families in need to sign up for help they need this Christmas.
Of course, the luncheon will also provide a hot meal to anyone who wishes to attend, and several folks will leave with a turkey to roast on Thanksgiving Day.
Right now, City Outreach is collecting turkeys and hams that may be given out to families during Saturday's lunch. Those remaining will be distributed among families during Christmas.
The ministry is also collecting toys and monetary donations that will be used to buy Christmas presents, which will be distributed to families (whose names are on their list) Dec. 22 at 11 a.m.
"We've got more people in need and less money," Horn said. "It used to be everyone gave. Now, times are tight."
Last year, Horn kicked off the holiday season by serving 1,200 people at the Thanksgiving lunch and giving away 150 turkeys.
Thousands more are helped during Christmas. Horn says his list of families in need comes from those who sign up during his Thanksgiving lunch and from the schools.
He does his best to cross-check his list against other charitable organizations in town to ensure folks are only on one list and as many families as possible can be helped.
Horn has been reaching out to local families for more than 20 years.
"We need to raise money for toys and turkeys so we can help people," he said. "We really need help this year."
For a comprehensive list of charitable organizations helping those in need this holiday season, see our "Christmas help" list on page 4.