Christmas Bureau: Need exceeds deeds

Dec. 13, 2012 @ 07:53 AM

The Christmas Bureau gives toys and food to thousands of Union County families each year. But this year's donations fall short of the many families requesting help.

Though many generous Union County residents and businesses gave toys, more is still needed. The staff has a little more than a week to collect food and toys for infants and teens.

"We start giving out items to families next week, so if people can help us out, they need to help pretty soon," volunteer coordinator Gloria Haney said.

More than 2,000 families applied for help with food costs this year.

"Some of them are lucky enough to have sponsors from other agencies, but that leaves about 1,500 other families we still need to feed," Haney said.

And there are another 700 families with children who might not get any presents without the help of the Christmas Bureau, Haney said.

The Christmas Bureau is a collaborative effort by the Union County Department of Social Services, H.O.P.E. for the Christmas Bureau of Union County, Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots, Council on Aging in Union County, Union County Goodfellows, Union County Health Department and the Salvation Army.

Other groups contributed. This year, Carolinas Medical Center - Union employees donated 127 bicycles to the Christmas Bureau.

Those agencies and groups have done great work getting donations, but most have been toys for the 3 to 11 year-old range.

"We really need items for infants," Haney said. "Soft toys, toys that make noise, toys they can interact with. Parents are always asking for baby wipes and diapers. It might not seem like a great Christmas gift, but it's a big help for families who can't afford those things."

Older girls asked for hair dryers and hair straighteners. Boys asked for hoodies and shoes. Older kids of either gender ask for tech gadgets and electronics.

The Christmas Bureau is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Drop toys off at the old Bi-Lo store at 1620 East Roosevelt Blvd. in Monroe.

For more information, call 704-291-9041 or email Haney at ghaney@co.union.nc.us.