By Dustin Shipman
Nearly 900 families have signed up for the Joplin Salvation Army’s Christmas assistance program, which provides food for families in need.
Salvation Army Capt. Mary Poff said while the demand has been steadily climbing as the holidays approach, lack of supplies is reaching a near-critical level.
“We have only about enough food to cover 300 out of the 900 families that we service at Christmas, we have a lot more need than we have supplies,” Poff said. “When we have families come in and sign up for our food program, we have them put their children on one of our angel trees, and people can come and adopt one of the angels off of the tree and buy them clothes and toys.”
“Right now every tree we have in the city is full of angels. We have even more that aren’t even on the trees yet, so right now we are starting to get concerned that we won’t have enough.”
Margaret Lawellin, assistant director for Joplin Crosslines, said the pattern is a familiar one, with more people in need and fewer willing to give.
“We are seeing the same thing,” Lawellin said. “We are getting notices out to the churches and hope for some more donations.”
Lawellin said the cost of gas and groceries has placed a strain on the public.
“Right now we are just hoping for a really big Santa Claus-like food donation.”
Souls Harbor is one organization that is seeing just the opposite with its food donations. Joan Lewis, director of Souls Harbor in Joplin, said that after struggling for months to keep food stocked the shelter is suddenly seeing an increase in donations.
“We have food for our pantries for a change. It has been a real blessing,” Lewis said.
Lewis said the shelter is meeting the needs of the people who have come to them for help and those numbers are growing.
“We were really struggling to get food for people because the demand has tripled the past two years,” Lewis said. “We are giving over 400 food boxes a month. Groceries are high, utilities are high, gas is high and sometimes there just isn’t enough to go around.”
How can you give?
n The Salvation Army’s Christmas program will accept donations until Dec. 20. Donations can be brought to the headquarters at 320 E 8th St. Details: 624-4528
n Donations of either non-perishable food items and cash can be made to Crosslines at 131 S. High Ave., or through a Joplin Church. Details: 782-8384.
n Souls Harbor is also accepting donations at 817 S. Main St. Details: 623-7927.
By Dustin Shipman
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