By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
The holiday season brims with festive lights, family and fun. But for some, the holidays are an even harsher reminder of everyday struggles.
While economic woes have affected many, those with the means and the desire to give have a number of ways to do so in Clinton. Many are taking advantage of those options.
With little more than two weeks to go, a number of organizations are preparing to help the community on Christmas.
The Salvation Army will provide food and toys to those in need. Christmas food boxes will go to 407 families and toys will brighten the days of 625 children.
Lt. Shane Jensen said his organization has seen a lot of community support this year and is most in need of toys and volunteer bell ringers to staff their Christmas Kettles. For more information on how to help through the Salvation Army, call 242-4502.
Unlike years prior, the Salvation Army and Holiday Network are not partnering during this holiday season, but both organizations are still working to bring the joy of the holidays to members of the community.
The Holiday Network provides socks and underwear for children, toiletries such as razors, deodorant and other necessities for teenagers and holiday bags of presents and stocking stuffers for teenagers. This holiday season they are poised to serve 400 families.
According to Tammy Meyer with RSVP, which organizes the Holiday Network, donations are still needed. Meyer said the Holiday Network is most in need of toiletries for teenagers and items for the senior gift bags.
Distribution of the items will be Dec. 18 and 19, so Meyer advises those wishing to make a donation, whether in items or financial, by Dec. 14. They can be dropped off at the RSVP office, 315 S. Second St.
Paula Mallory, director of the Associate Benevolent Society, said her patrons are in need of complete artifical Christmas trees, diapers and formula. The Benevolent Society can be reached at 243-4148.
The Associate Benevolent Society will receive another large donation of five mattresses from Slumberland of Clinton.
Slumberland owner Tim Jackson said the donation is part of a corporate effort called “Home for the Holidays,” which uses 10 percent of all mattress sales to donate mattresses to a local charity. This is the first year the Clinton store will participate in the effort, donating three twins and two full mattresses.
Another group of caring community members gathered on Saturday at Camanche City Hall to load boxes of food for 100 families in their community. The program is spearheaded annually by the Camanche Kiwanis to provide canned and boxed food to families in Camanche. They also provide chicken, bread, butter, fruit and other perishable items the day they are delivered, according to Kiwanis member Pat Haley.
Regan Michaelson, the executive director of Information, Referral and Assistance Services, said one way her organization is helping this holiday is by partnering with Corner Deli to provide a dinner to those who have nowhere else to spend their Christmas.
The dinner will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Christmas and will be free.
Information, Referral and Assistance Services will also be working with Mercy Medical Center again this year through the Med Tree program that helps people with financial needs by providing emergency prescription assistance.
Donations for that program can be mailed to Med Tree, Mercy Medical Center, 1410 N. Fourth St.
Michaelson said the most effective way for people to help is through financial contributions.
Those interested in helping can call 243-5818 for more information.
“We could always use the help,” she said.