NEW LONDON, Mo. -- North East Community Action Corporation is partnering with area organizations to help make the holidays brighter for families in Ralls County.
LeAndra Bridgeman, Ralls County service coordinator with NECAC, has been involved in two programs that bring a positive impact to local families each season. She is accepting applications for Salvation Army food boxes at the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots program, and NECAC also is working for the fourth year with the United Way of Adams County and The Herald-Whig for the Good News of Christmas program.
The program reaches a couple families in Ralls County each year, providing gifts for children and their parents along with household items or another necessity, such as paying an old bill or helping repair a vehicle. Bridgeman said the Good News of Christmas makes a positive impact on each family member.
"Last year, I had a single mom with three kids, and they all wanted bicycles, so they could do that activity together," Bridgeman said. "And the Good News of Christmas program provided all of them with bicycles and helmets, and it was amazing. They were so happy."
Bridgeman said Toys for Tots reaches more families each year, and word has been getting around in the area each year. Local businesses and organizations have toy drop-off boxes in Ralls County and throughout surrounding communities -- last year, the program's volunteers distributed 12,789 toys to 1,428 children in Lewis, Marion, Monroe, Pike, Ralls and Shelby counties. In addition to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, NECAC works with organizations like Douglass Community Services and the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department to reach as many families as possible.
For Bridgeman, the chance to make the holidays brighter is rewarding each year,and she's looking forward to the chance to give this season.
"I love it. It makes me feel really happy that we're able to help families through the holidays, so it's not disappointing or they're in need of some food or assistance," Bridgeman said. It's cheerful, it makes me feel really good."
More information about holiday programs or how to apply is available by calling the NECAC Ralls County Service Center at 573-985-2411.