Holiday assistance programs report increase of families in need
Volunteering programs set up in both Boone and Callaway Counties have seen an increase in families asking for assistance this holiday season. And many other families and organizations have stepped in to provide the assistance.
The Voluntary Action Center in Columbia is again having its Christmas program to gather donations and family sponsorship. The Center matches a family or individual in need with a sponsor who provides money for gifts and food. Spokesperson Logan Park says the program now has more than twelve hundred sponsored families throughout Boone County. He says that increase seems to be a trend for the program in recent years:“It seems like there’s a greater number of families served every year,” Park says. “It certainly seems like there’s a greater need for this program each year. And recently we’ve crossed the threshold of sponsoring twelve hundred families.”
Just east in Callaway County, SERVE, Incorporated also has an adopt-a-family assistance program.
Spokesperson Julie Roark says about 500 families will be assisted through their program. She also says much like the trend with the Voluntary Action Center, the program is assisting more families than in the past: “This year we have had an increase in the number of families seeking assistance,” she says. “And just recently been looking at numbers, we have quite a few more than I had anticipated.”
Roark says she thinks more families are seeking assistance this year because budgets are tight. Both organizations are still accepting donations, whether monetary, a toy, or a warm coat.