Holiday donations needed to help Hoosier families

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- 'Tis the season for giving but some Indiana organizations still need help to make the holidays a little more merry for some families in need.

United Christmas Service, the direct holiday assistance program of United Way of Central Indiana, said it still needs more than $200,000 to serve all families that applied this year.

"Unfortunately we fell a little on hard times but things are looking up," program recipient Chyvon Britton said.

She said the program is about the little things. In years past, it's been able to provide a holiday meal, pajamas and some gifts for her children, Antonio, 11, and Caleb, 8.  Last year, they were able to grant the children their wish for an easy bake oven and a snow cone machine. After falling on hard times this year, she said she's looking to the program again.

"To see the children's faces light up when they have something to open for Christmas or to even for those who don't have actual gifts that are just able to have a meal a good, hot meal for Christmas," Britton said.

The program turns monetary donations into 'Merry Money' families can redeem at partnering stores for gifts or basic needs. Right now the program said it can serve about 2,500 families.

"Our monetary donation that we're looking for is over $200,000 this year so we definitely have a ways to go but it definitely has a direct impact on our community," Katie Cordell, the program manager, said.

They're not the only organization asking Hoosiers to give more. Toys for Tots, part of the Marine Corps mission, said as of Monday night it still needed just over 10,000 toys. One spokesman said they're seeing less donations in the bins this year.

All the groups have a common goal, though, helping Hoosier families.

Cordell said $30 through United Christmas Service can help an individual and $120 can help a family of four.

"It's like a blessing you know," Britton said.

She said once her family is back on their feet, they plan to donate to the program, too.

You can find more information on United Christmas Service here and more information on Toys for Tots here.