Layoffs, plant shutdowns and a tight economy have many families questioning what to do for Christmas. Last year the Salvation Army in Jackson and George County helped more than 700 families. So far this year, they have received almost 500 requests for help, but they expect even more.
The Salvation Army has been packed all week. Major Harvey Adams said, "We've been averaging about 165-170 applications a day."
And now the last day is here, and it hasn't slacked up yet.
"As a matter of fact, we've already cut-off our sign up list. We already have five pages filled with names. And each page has about 30 names on it," Adams said.
Betty Kelly drove back from North Mississippi today hoping to make it on time to get her new adopted kids on the list. "When I got back, I was going to sign up for them some toys or whatever, but it was too late."
She recently received custody of four of her grandchildren ranging in age from 7 months to 11-years-old. "If anybody got anything they could donate to help those children, I would really appreciate it."
Due to a tight economy, Adams said he believes many who are asking for help this year are first-timers. "A lot of them had to swallow a significant amount of pride to come in because they've always been on the giving and not the receiving end."
An hour before the center closed, about thirty people remained. Some say without this program, Christmas wouldn't be as bright.
Elizabeth Sharp of Pascagoula worries about children. "There's a lot of kids that really wouldn't have Christmas if it weren't for things like this." Germany Tate came today with her mother hoping, "I can have something for Christmas like cds and a cd player."
Adams said he wants to help as many families as possible. A waiting list will be put out November 18th. George County residents can sign up for Christmas assistance on November 14th at the Lucedale Senior Citizens Hall. The Jackson County Angel Tree will go up next week in Singing River Mall at 10 am.