Canal Winchester and Groveport Madison families in need of holiday assistance can get help from the community and local agencies.
Canal Winchester Human Services, which has provided holiday help to residents in the Canal Winchester school district, Lithopolis and parts of Fairfield County since 1955, expects to distribute more than 150 food baskets again this season to around 300 people.
To help meet the need, the agency is asking the community to "adopt" families.
"The Adopt-A-Family program in Canal Winchester is special and unique because it provides outreach to benefit the entire family," said Penny Miller, director of Canal Winchester Human Services.
Miller said the program provides children with clothes, a new pair of shoes and a few items on their Christmas wish lists.
"Each family served through AAF will also receive a generous food basket that will include not only a Christmas ham and fixings for a nice dinner but also extra food staples to help feed families over the extended Christmas holiday," Miller said.
Canal Winchester Human Services also operates a coat closet at the Frances Steube Community Center, 22 S. Trine St., where every member of a household can receive good used coats, new hats and mittens.
Individuals and families who have applied for assistance but who have not been "adopted" for the holidays still may receive assistance through Human Services and are invited to find garments at the coat closet.
Miller said Human Services is in need of good used coats, new hats and mittens, food and household items for the food baskets and financial donations to help purchase perishable items and take care of children and families who aren't adopted.
"Providing such individualized assistance would not be possible without support from the local community, and there are many ways to help," she said. "People can also help fulfill the children's wishes to Santa by donating toys, board games, books, etc., during Christmas in the Village, which will be held the first week of December.
"There will be a toy box located beside Santa's chair while he greets children at the Huntington Bank both nights (Dec. 1-2)," she said.
Donations can be dropped off at the community center or the food pantry's new location at 80 Covenant Way. Distribution to approved applicants is scheduled for Dec. 14.
Financial donations can be made online through the Canal Winchester Human Services website or checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 155, Canal Winchester 43110 or 80 Covenant Way, Canal Winchester.
The Center for Groveport Madison Human Needs anticipates helping more children this year than last year, when it assisted 285 children through its Adopt-A-Family program.
"We have already seen an increase in applications for our annual Groveport Madison Adopt-A-Family program, so our greatest need at this point is for 'angels' who are willing to adopt a family and purchase Christmas for the children," center director Christine Boucher said.
Boucher said the angels provide each child with a coat, hat, gloves, socks, pajamas, underwear and two items on the child's wish list.
Each adopted family also receives a box of nonperishable food items and at least a $25 gift card for perishable items.
Families who have been adopted over the past two years are not eligible for the adoption program, but will still receive assistance through "Abundance Alley," the distribution location at Groveport Zion Lutheran Church, Boucher said.
Families must be on the list of accepted applicants to receive assistance at Abundance Alley, where Boucher said parents and guardians can "shop" from donated new toys for younger children and gift cards for children age 15 and older.
"We will accept any donations of new toys and gift cards," she said. "Another type of assistance we can always use are donations of new or gently used coats, especially for adults."
When a parent or guardian picks up the Christmas items, they can also choose a coat for themselves.
As a result, the center needs coats in sizes from small to 3XL for men and women.
Families who aren't adopted receive breakfast and lunch pantry items from the center, so donations of food are always needed.
Boucher said items can be dropped off at the center's distribution site at Groveport Zion Lutheran Church, 6014 Groveport Road in Groveport between 2:30 and 5 p.m. Dec. 11 and 12.
Financial donations can also be sent to the Center for Groveport Madison Human Needs, P.O. Box 542, Groveport, 43124 or can be donated online through PayPal at info@ center4gmhn.org.