A mission staffer said he thinks layoffs are stressing local families this holiday season.
By ANGIE SCHMITT
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
WARREN — At the Warren Family Mission, the list of children depending on the public’s generosity to put a present under the Christmas tree has never been longer.
Each year, the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center and homeless shelter invites needy families to apply for donated Christmas gifts. But so far this year, giving hasn’t matched the overwhelming demand, said staffer Bob Orr.
“I already have 2,500 [applications] and I expect to receive more,” he said. “We’re in desperate need of toys.”
Normally, the Family Mission puts its faith in God to meet the need, Orr said. This year the organization is sounding the message: Help is needed.
“We just have such a large amount of children this year,” Orr said. “I just felt, we have to reach out to the community.”
Orr said he thinks downsizing and layoffs at area businesses are taking a toll on the local population. The organization serves not only the homeless population but low-income working families who can’t spare any expense.
“There are people that are just a couple of checks away from destitution,” Orr said.
All toy donations are welcomed, but the greatest need is for what the mission calls big toys — Barbies and toy trucks, items that cost about $10.
“What we try to do is give each child a large toy,” Orr said. “We don’t want to turn down any child.”
The public can drop off donations at these locations:
UWarren Family Mission, 361 Elm Road N.E.
U CVS pharmacy, 3406 Elm Road.
U Second Christian Church, 904 W. Market St.
U North-Mar Church of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, 3855 E. Market St.
U First United Methodist Church, 309 N. Park Ave.
U Giant Eagle store, 2061 Elm Road N.E.
U J.D. Byrider auto sales, 4468 Youngstown Road S.E.
U Howland Township administration offices, 169 Niles-Cortland Road N.E.