Pam Branin, Holiday Assistance coordinator, said there are a lot of families needing help, probably 10 percent more than last year.
“It’s a tight year for everyone,” she said.
They have received donations from various businesses and organizations, such as Intermountain Healthcare, Wal-Mart, the Elks Club, the Lions Club, the Rotary Club, Community Presbyterian Church, Christ the King Catholic Church, Premier Dental and other.
They also got a lot of contributions from individuals, and several families called and wanted to help another family, Branin said. Donations are also received through several angel trees set up in Cedar City and Enoch.
“We have a very generous community,” she said.
She said those in need of assistance fill out an application, and can mark whether they need toys, food, or both. If they have children in need of toys they put down their ages and can put suggestions of items each child would like.
Based on donations, they try to match the toys to the children’s interests as much as possible, said Tracy Garrett, volunteer coordinator with the Volunteer Center of Iron County. The ages they struggle getting donations for the most are toddlers and kids 9 and older, she said.
Garrett said the donations were a little slow at first, with most of them coming in last week. Pick-up was Friday and Saturday.
All food needs go through the Iron County Food Bank, but the gift aspect of the program was set up for the season in an office and storage unit at Cedar Storage, on Industrial Road.
In that facility they handled all of the Cedar City and Enoch area, as well as the Enterprise and Beryl area. All of Parowan’s applications are handled locally by Jet Smith, Parowan events coordinator, Branin said.
She said the space as well as the utility costs are donated by Cedar Storage, South Central Communications donated a phone, and Star Sign and Banner donated a sign. Help comes from the Volunteer Center of Iron County, Southern Utah University students, and community members.
“It really is a community effort,” she said.
Garrett said it sometimes can be tough to distribute the donations evenly, as they get some high dollar items and some less expensive toys.
“We really do do our best,” Branin said.
She added the most families are extremely grateful for the gifts they get, and though “it’s a big undertaking,” the effort can be very rewarding.
Branin said she would like the program to work a little bit more throughout the year to collect items. December can be a tough time for some people to donate, since they are already buying Christmas for their own family, and they would just like to spread the effort out a little more.
Holiday Assistance will be trying to make some pushes throughout the year, but anyone who would like to donate any time can call the Iron County Care and Share at 586-4962, the SUU Service and Learning Center at 586-5596 or the Volunteer Center of Iron County at 867-8384.