Holiday donation drives hope for last-minute help before Christmas

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 17, 2015) -- With a week left until Christmas, groups helping out families in need are hoping for some help of their own from the community.

Many non-profits and other groups offering help for the holidays tell FOX59 it has been a good year for donations, but they still need some last-minute help.

"We’re just making that last push for the end of the year right before Christmas," Rachael Candee with the United Christmas Service said.

The United Christmas Service, run through the United Way of Central Indiana, offers help to more than 4,000 families in several counties. This year, all 875 families who signed up for adoption have been served already. The remaining families are given vouchers that cost $30 per person to buy necessary items. UCS is still in need of around $40,000 in donations to cover those voucher costs. You can donate at the link here.

Also in need is the Salvation Army, which is still in the midst of its Red Kettle campaign.

"We’re running behind right now ... almost 10 percent, so it’s a little (bit of a) nervous time for us," Major Bob Webster said.

You can donate to the Red Kettle Drive at the link here or at red kettles throughout the state. Online donations continue through January and are used for all Salvation Army programs. There is also a need for volunteer bell ringers through Christmas Eve.

Another group that needs donations is Toys for Tots. In Marion County, YMCA locations will accept toys through Friday ahead of their giveaway on Saturday at the State Fairgrounds. You can also donate money at the link here.

Finally, there's a local drive that is hoping to help more kids. Amp Harris started a giveaway in conjunction with the Pacers and Colts, called "Put a Smile on Children's Faces This Christmas."

Harris, who runs the drive himself, already has enough toys for 300 kids but he's hoping to add another 200 teenagers to the event. He said gifts targeting 14-16 year old kids and gift cards are the most needed.

"I literally will come and get whatever (you) have. I’ve been driving all over the city, picking up stuff from different people that have donated," Harris said.

Harris will give gifts to kids selected by the Forest Manor Multi-Sevice Center on Tuesday, with help from Meier, Prime 47 in Carmel, George Hill of the Indiana Pacers and D'Qwell Jackson and Robert Mathis of the Indianapolis Colts.

"People like myself that grew up in a single parent home, I can relate to these kids who would probably wake up under the Christmas tree and there’s pretty much nothing there. ... This is just something really small from my heart that I thought that we could do," Harris said.

You can donate to the Forest Manor location at 5603 E 38th Street or call 317-545-1204.

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