Parents hoping to bring some Christmas joy to their kids are finding it harder than ever.
Take Toni Turner, who needs help for the first time this holiday season–and is learning that finding help is difficult.
Turner is looking for a job this year and for the first time, she doesn’t know if she’ll be able to afford Christmas gifts for her 11-year-old daughter Jamesse.
“I just hope just to get her one toy, just to have one toy up under a tree,” Turner said.
Turner didn’t know that many large donation drives take applications months before Christmas. She missed deadlines and has had trouble finding a place that can help her.
“It’s mostly just, ‘Sorry we’re closed, we’re full,'” Turner said.
At the United Way, the Christmas Service Center is still in need of help for families who are already on their long list.
“We have 150 families that still need to be adopted,” said Jay Geshay of United Way.
All agencies suggest that those like Turner start by calling 211 or going to their website at connect2help.org. The organization gets new ideas for Christmas assistance every day.
As for Turner, she said that this experience has opened her eyes to those like her, who need that extra help to give their kids a cheerful holiday.
“(Just) going to get a dollar toy and putting it in the (donation bin), that helps somebody that’s in a predicament like me,” Turner said.
She planned to keep looking for a place to get help, no matter how many calls she has to make.
“You go to school and (kids will say), ‘Jamesse, what did you get for Christmas?’ And for a child to say, ‘I didn’t get anything,’ I would rather her not go through that. I would rather her not have to go through that,” Turner said.
If you’d like to help, contact an agency near you or go to the United Way of Central Indiana’s website.