Christmas assistance receives humble requests by hard-working people

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KKCO) -- Things we take for granted mean the world to others. These families are asking for simple things, such as shoes for their children, socks, or blankets.

The Salvation Army says the community always comes together to give back to those having a hard time.

"A coat for their child, or a rattle for their baby; just the simple things, just to see their kids smile on Christmas morning," said Jennifer Salazar, who has applied for Christmas assistance before. "Wintertime is always hard, because my husband gets laid off, so usually money is really tight during the winter."

Jennifer works part-time while raising her five children.

"People that need the assistance, don't be afraid to just ask; there's no shame in asking for some help if you need it," said Salazar.

Last year, the Salvation Army helped more than 1,700 families with 3,000 children.

"You see them sit in the car, and they kind of have to get it together before they come in," said Claudia Jackson, Director of Public Relations with the Salvation Army.

Jackson has worked with hundreds of families over the years.

"There were a couple of ladies last year when we did distribution that stood there and cried; they just cried, and cried, and cried. And they said, you know, we've always been on the giving end, and for us to have to come in and to ask for help is just really hard for us," said Jackson.

People aren't asking for things they want, but things they need.

"Some lose their jobs and find themselves in a place that they never thought they'd never find themselves in," said Salvation Army Captain Terrie Wilson.

The community is a crucial part in making the Christmas assistance program successful.

"Those people come in hanging their heads a little bit, saying 'I've never had to do this. I don't know exactly what to do,' and we have volunteers and employees here who are just willing to help," said Wilson.

But for Jennifer, she's going to college, studying criminal justice, and hopes to one day help find missing persons.

"I want to show my kids that no matter what life throws at you, you can always accomplish whatever you want to, and it's never too late to make a change," said Salazar.

To apply, you must bring proof of income, a current utility bill or current signed lease within the last year, picture ID for all adults living in your home, and ID for all children living in your home. That includes a birth certificate, Medicaid card, school ID, shot record, or social security card. Children must be in the home all year, not just at Christmas.

Applications are being accepted Monday through Friday through Dec. 7. Times are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Applications are accepted Fridays from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Applications will be accepted Tuesday, Nov. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m., and Tuesday, Dec. 4 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Applications can be dropped off at the Salvation Army Corps office. That's at 1235 North 4th Street in Grand Junction.

For more information, contact the Salvation Army at (970) 242-7513.

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