Every child looks forward to Christmas with anticipation, expecting gifts under the tree. It breaks your heart to have to tell your toddler or preschooler that you can’t afford to buy her whatever she wants. Rather than allow her to do without, you look for ways to get Christmas help so she has at least a few gifts. Fortunately, there are agencies that offer help so Christmas morning will include tears of joy instead of tears of disappointment.
Items you will need
- Application form
- Wrapping paper
Contact your church, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, your local school district and neighborhood resource centers to see what options you have to receive Christmas assistance. Your local newspaper or radio and television stations might also provide information you need on the available programs. Each program will have specific requirements you must meet to qualify for assistance. In addition to income limits, some programs may require that you live within a specific zip code, have children of a specific age or that you get your registration in by a specific date. Failure to meet any of these requirements may leave your child without gifts, so start your search early.
Provide the program with your child’s clothing and shoe sizes and ideas for one or two gifts your child really wants. Many programs provide socks, shoes, underwear, warm clothes and a coat for children who fit the program requirements. Some programs will also provide food for your family, so include information on the number of people in your home.
Show up for the interview required by many of these programs. You might need to bring proof of residence, pay stubs and picture identification for all adult family members. The interviewers are usually compassionate people with an honest desire to help and understand that you might find the process uncomfortable. Express your appreciation for whatever help you can get. If you don’t qualify for that program, the interviewer might have information on other agencies that could offer you some assistance. Your interviewer will usually be able to tell you whether your child qualifies by the end of the interview.
Follow the instructions provided by the program to pick up her Christmas gifts. Some programs require you appear without your child on distribution day, so make arrangements so they don’t turn you away. You probably need to supply wrapping paper for the gifts because agencies usually ask that donors provide the gifts unwrapped. You might be allowed to choose various gift options, such as clothing or food items. A few organizations will deliver the gifts to you, so provide accurate directions and a time when they can reach you so you don’t miss the delivery.
Express appreciation for whatever help you receive.
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