Avenues are opening for those wishing to help needy county families with celebrating this year’s holiday season.
Organizers of three of the county’s food pantries say plans are in place to help families this year with expenses associated with the holidays.
Foothills Food Pantry
Foothills Food Pantry in Dobson is ready to begin taking applications for its annual Open Your Heart Christmas food boxes.
Applications for the food boxes will be accepted throughout the month of November, starting on Nov. 1, according to Coordinator Beverly Jones.
Those wishing to apply for the food boxes need to submit an application at Foothills Food Pantry, located at 233 Cooper St. in Dobson.
The applications will be accepted on Mondays from 6 to 7 p.m., and on Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon.
“Monday night’s service is set aside for working families,” Jones said.
Anyone wishing to apply for the food boxes should bring a photo ID, Social Security card for each person in their household, proof of one month’s income and one month’s expenses, Jones said.
While Yokefellow Cooperative Ministries will not be offering holiday food boxes this year, the food ministry recommended anyone needing assistance go to Foothills Food Pantry.
“We don’t do Christmas food boxes,” a spokesman for Yokefellow said, noting that while they distribute food year-round, the holiday season is often their busiest time of the year.
The Salvation Army is offering a limited number of food boxes this year, primarily for single-member households, said social worker Christy Rippey.
“We do food boxes year-round,” she said. “So we don’t do a whole lot extra for Christmas, but we do some for seniors or those who are in special need.”
Rippey said the Salvation Army tends to focus on younger county residents during the holiday season.
“Our biggest project at Christmas is the Angel Tree,” she said. “We help around 1,100 families in the region, and will begin signing up recipients for this year’s Angel Tree next week for families that have kids.”
Families who don’t have children but need assistance can still get help at the Salvation Army, Rippey said, but that help is limited.
“For families that don’t have children but still need food, we can sign them up for a small food box,” she said. “Since Foothills Food Pantry takes a lot of that on, we try to focus on the toys through the Angel Tree, but we still distribute about 40 food boxes a year and people can sign up along with families who register children for the Angel Tree.”
The Salvation Army will conduct sign-ups for both the Angel Tree and the food boxes starting next Monday.
Applications will be accepted between Oct. 29 and Nov. 2, from 9 to 11:30 a.m., and from 1:30 to 4 p.m.
“We’re going to be at 446 W. Pine St. in Mount Airy, on the corner of South South Street and West Pine Street,” Rippey said.
Anyone wishing to apply for either the Angel Tree or a food box from the Salvation Army should bring identification for everyone in their household.
“If they receive Food Stamps, that’s basically all I’ll need except for proof of address,” Rippey said.
County residents wishing to apply who do not receive Food Stamps should bring income verification and a list of all household expenses.
In addition, any families who would like to be considered for this year’s Sheriff’s Christmas Fund should apply through the Salvation Army, according to Sheriff Graham Atkinson.
Pilot Mountain Outreach
This year, the Pilot Mountain Outreach Center is offering assistance for both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
According to Co-Director Karen Caparolie, the center is working with area churches this year to offer needy families Thanksgiving In A Bag, which contains everything necessary to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
And the application process is simple, according to Caparolie.
“People can call the outreach center at 368-4907 to let us know they need the help,” she said. “They don’t really need to apply, if they need food they can call and ask for a Thanksgiving bag.”
Caparolie said organizers simply need to know how many bags will be needed by Nov. 12.
Once again this year, the outreach center is working with Toys for Tots to provide not only food, but toys for children as well.
Beginning on Nov. 5, applications will be taken at the center between 9 a.m. and noon on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Those accepted for the assistance will receive large toys, stocking stuffers, clothing and enough food to last about two weeks.
Applicants will need to bring a photo ID, Social Security cards, proof of income and something showing their permanent address.
Caparolie said anyone wishing to donate toys can bring new toys to the food pantry between 9 a.m. and noon on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
“We will be handling toys for children from birth to age 14,” she said.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.