Increased Need Expected During Holidays

Monday, October 27th 2008, 9:26 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The Salvation Army is finding a lot of families in need this year.  The Salvation Army started registration on Monday for help at Christmas and a line had formed long before the doors opened.

Everybody has been hit by the economy and that is increasing the need for help.  And, that could possibly cut into donations to the Salvation Army.  At their Christmas Center, at 9140 E. 31st Street, they're taking applications for food and gift assistance.

This is the second year that Cathy Sims has come to the Salvation Army for help with Christmas.

"You swallow your pride and you go on, you don't think about yourself.  It's never about yourself," said Tulsan Cathy Sims.

She and her husband both have cancer.  She was diagnosed last week.  But, their concern is for the two grandchildren they're raising.

"We have wondered how we were going to able to get something for them," said Tulsan Cathy Sims.

That's just one family out of more than 400 who signed up for gifts and a food basket on the first day.  The Salvation Army says the high price of gas forced many paycheck to paycheck working families into poverty.

"Our year round programs, at the Salvation Army, we have seen an increase in those.  About 70% of the people were seeing are seeking assistance for the first time," said the Salvation Army's Brad Borror.

With demand for the Salvation Army's services over the last year, the big question is how great will the need be this Christmas and will the donations be there to meet the need?

This year the Salvation Army will try to raise $1 million in Tulsa through the kettle drive.  They'll once again have the popular toy run.  And, the Angel Tree will return gifts for families in need.    

In December, the Salvation Army begins a massive distribution of gifts and food baskets for each family and on faith, believes there will be enough to go around.

Cathy Sims is holding onto her faith, too.

"I figure the good Lord will take care of me.  He has so far," said Tulsan Cathy Sims.

The Christmas Center office is open this week and next from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays.  The Angel Tree goes up November 16th at Woodland Hills Mall.