Salvation Army helping make the holidays happy in Linn County - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Salvation Army helping make the holidays happy in Linn County

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

During these tough economic times, many families struggle to provide a happy holiday.

That's why The Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids is providing food assistance and helping families register for Toys for Tots.

Laura Sir has been living on Social Security Disability Benefits for 12 years.

She's got two sets of twins at home and it can be stressful to provide them a merry Christmas.

"Social security doesn't go very far," said Sir, of Cedar Rapids.  "By the time the bills are paid, there isn't much money and I have teenagers."

This year Sir is receiving help from The Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids.

Linn County residents can sign up through Friday for holiday food assistance or to receive a gift through Toys for Tots.

When registering applicants need to bring an Iowa issued picture ID, social security cards for each member of the family, and proof of income-like a social security statement or tax return.

"The best part about Toys for Tots is the distribution," said Lindsay Hand, Director of Social Services.  "As they're shopping you can totally see the light that comes to them and you know that they've picked out the right toy for their son or daughter."

A relief for the parents struggling to make the holidays happy-a challenge many eastern Iowans face.

Requests for food pantry assistance from The Salvation Army have tripled in the past few years.

"They're coming here to our food program or they're coming for rental or utility assistance so you really know that they are needing that Christmas assistance as well," said Hand.

For people like Sir, the holiday help means a happier season.

"It's a blessing not only to get stuff for my children, but for other parents too who can't afford to have a lot of stuff for their children," said Sir.

Linn County residents who want to sign up can go to The Salvation Army from 9:30 until 11:30 or from 1:30 until 4 any day this week.

There's also registration Thursday evening from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m.

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