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Christmas Help for Needy in our Area

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News)--It's the season of giving. Amid all the toy drives and charity events coming up, there are people that are still in need this Christmas because of the tough economy. Many of the organizations in our area have to pre-screen for the neediest of the needy. This leavs others who still could use help from falling through the cracks.

There are some local organizations who are still offering help, but you have to ask for it now.

Christmas is still more than a month away, but at Volunteers of America, Santa's elves work hard to make this holiday season special for needy families.

"These are families that just don't necessarily meet the eligibility requirements for some of the other help agencies this holiday season," said executive director Judith Bell.

Volunteers of America will get half of the toys from Opus Broadcasting's upcoming toy drive, and families have until December 11th to apply for help.

"We do have a process in place that allows them to be screened, so we know they're not receiving duplicate services anywhere else," Bell said.

While the application process for the Salvation Army's angel tree program is over, the good news is that you can get a hot meal there from noon-1 each day, and on Thanksgiving and Christmas, they're doing a little something extra.

The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana helps supply food to 90 agencies in the area whose clients are in need.

"When you think about the need for food in Northeast Louisiana, it's one of the worst in the nation," said director Richard King. "In Louisiana, 1 out of every 5 people is on food stamps. In Ouachita Parish, 32% of children live below the poverty level."

If you need help from the food bank, simply call United Way at "2-1-1."  2-1-1 operators also can help you with information on other organizations that offer help for the holidays.

To apply for help from Volunteers of America, you can drop by their office on Roselawn Avenue, or call them at 322-2272.

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