Charity now accepting holiday-need applications and donations
A long-standing holiday tradition across the U.S. since the 1940s, the Union County Christmas Bureau has served Union County families for 31 years—and began accepting applications from families who need holiday-time assistance on Monday, October 3. As in years past, Monroe Crossings Management Company Madison Marquette have graciously donated space to ensure the Bureau can once again be located at 2107 W. Roosevelt Boulevard in the old Big Lots Building.
Over the years, the number of families in need has increased significantly—growing from 500 families in 2000 to more than 2140 families and more than 8,000 individuals in 2010. This year’s need may be record breaking, according to Gloria Haney, Volunteer Services Coordinator for the Union County Department of Social Services and director of the Christmas Bureau, with more families than ever before seeking assistance.
Receive a helping hand
As in years past, applicants can receive Christmas Bureau assistance in one of three ways: through community sponsors, the gift tree, and the all-new gift matching shopping program. To meet the needs of all the families requesting assistance, the Christmas Bureau is asking businesses, churches, families, groups and individuals to donate toys, nonperishable food and money. “The Christmas Bureau depends on support and donations from the community,” Haney said. “It’s a great way to reach out to local neighbors in need.”
Lend a helping hand
Toys are in particular demand, Haney said. “We need toys and gifts for children ages 0 – 18,” she explained, “but have difficulties in getting enough for the 0 – 2 age group, as well as for the 10 – 18 age group.” This year, Haney notes they are also looking for groups to volunteer with the Bureau’s new gift matching program for children beginning in October. “Group leaders and volunteers can call for more details in how they can help fill a child’s wish list without any cost to their group,” she explained.
According to the Haney, the Bureau also needs volunteers for various tasks during the months of October through December, and groups or individuals can assist by sponsoring families, gift trees, or filling stockings for children.
Open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to accept donations, volunteers are also on hand to assist with the application process during those days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Monetary and gift donations should be sent before Friday, December 9, and can be made in person or sent by mail to the Christmas Bureau at 2107 W. Roosevelt Boulevard, Monroe, NC 28110. All donations are tax-deductible.
Those interested in helping should contact the Union County Christmas Bureau at 704-291-9041, or sign up to volunteer online at www.signupgenius.com/go/christmas195.
This year’s Union County Christmas Bureau is a collaborative effort of several area groups: The Union County Department of Social Services, H.O.P.E. for the Christmas Bureau of Union County, Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots, The Council on Aging, Union County Goodfellows, The Union County Health Department, The Salvation Army, and The Union County Department of Social Services.