While stores are filled with many holiday shoppers charging their way through the season, many families on the central Kenai Peninsula are needing help with Christmas this year.
In the spirit of giving, The Salvation Army will carry on its 20-year tradition by providing and distributing approximately 400 Christmas boxes this year, said Capt. Troy Trickel. However, the organization still is looking to the community for a bit more help.
The items the organization still needs include canned milk, canned vegetables, canned pumpkin, yams; olives, macaroni and cheese, canned fruit, stuffing mix, tomatoes, pasta sauce and tomato sauce.
The items can be dropped off at either the Kenai or Soldotna Salvation Army thrift stores or at The Salvation Army on Forest in Kenai.
The group helps area families during the rest of the year with rental and utility bills, monthly food and commodity baskets, clothing, an August school clothing and supply giveaway and an annual Thanksgiving Day dinner.
"Anyone who comes to us with a need, ... we try to provide it or find someone who can," Trickel said.
The majority of the food for the Christmas boxes is donated by the community, and the organization purchases the things still needed to finish the baskets, as well as perishable items.
One of the missions of The Salvation Army is to provide things that people need. The Salvation Army puts together the boxes with enough food for about a week, including Christmas Day and toys for children 16 and under.
The toys in the boxes come from the angel tree donations in various stores on the peninsula, as well as the U.S. Marines Corps and Alaskan Bikers Advocating Training and Education toy drives, Trickel said.
The remainder of toys that are not donated are purchased by The Salvation Army.
To get the boxes, a family in need must prove they are not receiving help from another organization and fill out an application at Bridges Community Resource Network in Soldotna, The Salvation Army or the Women's Resource and Crisis Center by Wednesday, he said.
Throughout the season, more than 200 volunteers help in the project in some way, with more than 100 helping to put the baskets together Dec. 16.
"We continue to be amazed at the peninsula at the open hearts and their willingness to help," Trickel said. "It is because of them that we are able to do it."
He said the boxes will be distributed between Dec. 21 through Christmas.
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