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Local charities worried families won’t get help this holiday season

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The very organizations who help out those in need are finding themselves in need this holiday season.

The United Christmas Service, which serves 7,000 families through the United Way, is still $200,000 behind its yearly fundraising goal. They need that money to buy vouchers for 1,700 families to get them food, clothes and toys for Christmas.

“We do need a Christmas miracle,” said Ron Pearson of the United Christmas Service.

Pearson said that right now, those families might not get anything, despite already being informed that they’ve been selected to receive help.

“They’ve been expecting to go from nothing to something,” Pearson said.

At the Salvation Army, donations are also behind this year. The group will hand out toys on Thursday, with a 25 percent spike in families’ who signed up to receive toys this year.

“We even have individuals who have come to us, who used to be donors through the Salvation Army. (They’ve) come and said, ‘I need help now,'” Maj. John Turner said.

The Salvation Army is only halfway to its fundraising goal so far this year. Stephanie Moore Pate, who works for the group but used to be a client, knows what it means to families that get that help.

“I know how it is to be going through so much and then, wow, you’re just overwhelmed with gifts for your children,” Moore Pate said.

Both groups are hoping for last minute donations. The United Christmas Service can only take donations to pay for those 1,700 vouchers through Friday. They say each voucher for a family costs just $30.