QUINCY -- The Salvation Army will again be providing Christmas assistance for parents in need this year, a long-running ministry.
Chapters across the country distribute toys to parents to give to their children on Christmas morning and food baskets that provide the essentials for a holiday meal.
"It's for the parents to give the toys to their children so that they're providing them with Christmas, and not the Salvation Army," Salvation Army Maj. Cheryl Miller said.
Miller expects to give out 1,350 food baskets in Quincy and Hannibal, Mo., which would be more than last year.
"The need continues to increase, and we don't want anyone left out," she said. "More people are living paycheck to paycheck now."
The number of toys distributed will depend on how many donations come in. Families are given enough toys so that each child receives one. Stuffed animals and various games are given according to how many are received. Many local clubs and organizations host toy drives to contribute to the Christmas assistance program. The Salvation Army also will be setting up Toy Town Trees in several locations around Quincy.
"It's just the fact of wanting to get Christmas cheer out there," Miller said, noting that the Kroc Center also hosts an annual Christmas Day dinner.
"I think it supports people in need and gives some dignity to it. It also helps our community, coming together to help one another. It shows that we're a community that's concerned about one another, and not just ourselves."
To receive Christmas assistance, families must meet set criteria. The Salvation Army will begin taking applications in Quincy on Monday, Oct. 23, in the Worship Theater of the Kroc Center, 405 Vermont. The application period continues through Friday, Oct. 27. Sign-up will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
Each applicant needs to bring a photo ID, proof of household income, proof of residence, verification of household members, and Social Security or medical cards for each member of the household.
For more information, call the Salvation Army at 217-222-5762.