ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) - There are a lot of children who may not have anything under the Christmas tree this year in Washtenaw County, an area with the lowest unemployment rate in the state.
The Salvation Army is asking for help getting toys to more than 15-hundred kids in their area for Christmas. The number of families needing help from the Michigan Department of Human Services in Washtenaw County rose 30 percent over the past year.
“When you go into different homes and see these children’s rooms, you don’t see any baby dolls, any toys, anything around, so you know that there is an obvious need for the children,” said MSP Trooper Duane Zook who helped coordinate the effort between all of the agencies to get the program off the ground this year.
“Being a community service trooper, I’ve learned that there’s been a need for families in need during the holiday season. Just going into different homes on calls and getting to see low-income the poverty people in need,” said Trooper Zook.
The Salvation Army needs toys from infant to pre-teen years. You can drop them off at any Salvation Army in Washtenaw County. Just before Christmas families who qualify for the program, their parents will come in and pick out the toys for their children.
“They should come in if they need help. We try to help people and serve them with dignity no matter how they find themselves,” said Lt. Colonel Mickey McLaren with the Salvation Army. “Our main focus is to try and alleviate problems out there and that is our main focus,” he said.
Last year they helped over 1,000 children and this year they hope to help over 1,500 children.
The program is for low income families, families with parents out of work and any family who find themselves in a difficult situation.
“It’s definitely worse this year. Some of the problems we are encountering is cost of food is going up. Washtenaw County has the lowest unemployment rate in the state, however there is not a lot of full time employment or employment beyond minimum wage and families cannot afford things like toys for their children for Christmas,” said Greg Pordon with the Michigan Department of Human Services in Wasthtenaw County.
If you would like to help, please visit the Salvation Army website at: www.usc.salvationarmy.org
MSP Troopers from the Brighton Post and the Pittsfield Public Safety Department will help to add toys to the tables by going to the Walmart in Saline on December 9 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and asking shoppers if they would like to donate a toy.
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