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Holiday-assistance program scrambling to help families

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Enough with the white stuff. Organizers of United Way of Central Indiana’s holiday-assistance program are hoping for a green Christmas.

Less than a week before its final distribution of vouchers for needy families, United Christmas Service is $285,000 short of its seasonal fundraising goal—and about 3,100 families are still waiting for help. Another 250 have yet to be matched with donor groups who provide food, clothing and toys to brighten the holidays.

“We’re hopeful,” said program director Mary Jones, UWCI’s director of community projects. “Everyone’s still out there trying, and we’re moving closer.”

Caseworkers from more than 100 human-service organizations in United Way’s six-county region referred 8,180 families to United Christmas Service for help this year, she said.

As of Monday afternoon, 1,145 of the neediest families had been matched with donors (who tend to spend about $75 on each family member) and 3,678 had received vouchers worth $30 per person.

“It’s not a lot, but they wouldn’t have anything without it,” Jones said.

Wednesday is the deadline for donor groups to sign up; families that aren’t matched will move to the top of the voucher list. The vouchers, which can be redeemed at participating retailers, will be handed out until Dec. 23.

Most donations arrive after Thanksgiving, Jones said, a pattern that may be a factor in this year’s shortfall since the holiday was unusually late.

United Christmas Service has raised about $515,000 so far this year; the past few years it reached the $700,000 mark.

But even that fell short of the $800,000 goal. As a result, about 1,500 needy families did not receive assistance last year or the year before, Jones said.

The bigger the gap, the more families who won’t get help.  

“We’re sending emails to caseworkers, but there really isn’t much left out there right now,” she said.

___

Visit United Christmas Service's website for information on how to help.

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  • Consider giving if you have the means
    This is a worthwhile charity to be involved in if you've never done it before. We adopted a family this year for the first time and our finding it very rewarding. The site linked at the bottom of the article has the signup info.

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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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