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Published: Monday, 10/24/2011

Area agencies offering Christmas assistance

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Nicole Wylie, 17, with boyfriend Bradley Schmidt, 18, and their son Hayden Schmidt, fills out an application for the Salvation Army Christmas assistance program at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department in Holland. Fewer than 600 people have applied so far. Nicole Wylie, 17, with boyfriend Bradley Schmidt, 18, and their son Hayden Schmidt, fills out an application for the Salvation Army Christmas assistance program at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department in Holland. Fewer than 600 people have applied so far.
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Christmas isn’t for another two months, but with two youngsters and another on the way, Danielle Shamp must start planning.

And since the Holland family’s only income is that of her fiance — they couldn’t afford a baby sitter with wages from her last job — Ms. Shamp is hoping to get a Christmas food box and toys from the Salvation Army.

“It’s always nice to see my kids smile around Christmas,” Ms. Shamp said. “We did it last year, and they were excited when there was stuff under the tree.”

Ms. Shamp filled out an application last week with Salvation Army workers visiting western Lucas County. This week, applications will be taken from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Salvation Army, 620 North Erie St., Toledo.

Fewer than 600 people have filled out applications, and this is the last week to do so. Nearly 4,000 filled out applications last year, so this week should be busy, said Marsha Shaughnessy, coordinator of the Christmas assistance program.

“I know the need’s out there,” said Ms. Shaughnessy, adding that churches and organizations will “adopt” the very neediest families to further assist with gifts.

Other programs also are gearing up to take applications for Christmas assistance.

Danielle Shamp, left, and friend Carly Akins, both of Holland, fill out an application for the Salvation Army assistance program as Ms. Akins’ daughter, Holly Chadwick, 4, and Ms. Shamp’s son, Layne Miller, 2, wait. Danielle Shamp, left, and friend Carly Akins, both of Holland, fill out an application for the Salvation Army assistance program as Ms. Akins’ daughter, Holly Chadwick, 4, and Ms. Shamp’s son, Layne Miller, 2, wait.
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Salvation Army of Monroe County, which like the Toledo agency works with Toys for Tots, will take Christmas assistance applications Monday through Nov. 23 at both the Monroe and Temperance locations. In Monroe, applications will be taken from 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Monday through Friday at 815 East First St., and they will be taken from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 7200 Lewis Ave., Suite C, Temperance.

The Monroe County agency helped 1,700 families last year, a more than 50 percent increase from just five years ago, and there probably will be more applicants this season, said Jeremy West, outreach director.

From Oct. 31 to Nov. 4, residents can apply for Church on Strayer’s annual Noel Project — which provides up to 450 families with Christmas food, toys, one child’s bike, and winter clothing — by calling United Way of Greater Toledo at 211. Church members and community partners such as Huntington Bank provide items for families, and donations also can be made at thenoelproject.com.

The Salvation Army’s Bowling Green unit also will begin taking applications for Christmas food and toy assistance on Oct. 31. Applicants can go to 1045 North Main St. from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Friday, people were lining up to fill out assistance applications and be interviewed by Salvation Army workers at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department’s Spencer Township location.

Among them was Vivan Bridges of Toledo, a single mother on disability hoping to get toys and food for her 4-year-old daughter, Siniyah Bridges, and Christina Blunk of Holland, a single mother of three who was unemployed until recently.

Ms. Blunk, who is studying to become a phlebotomist, said she got a part-time job in food service, but what she earns quickly goes to paying off bills and loans.

“I’ve just gotten so far behind,” Ms. Blunk said. “It’s just tough.”

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at: jmckinnon@theblade.com or 419-724-6087.



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