Christmas Bureau applications being accepted

The Rowan County Christmas Bureau will continue taking applications for holiday assistance today.

The bureau handles the sign-up process for several funds or organizations that help children: the Salvation Army of Rowan County’s Angel Tree, Toys for Tots of Rowan County, the Salisbury Post’s Christmas Happiness fund, Project Santa in Denton and The Arc of Rowan’s Operation Santa Claus.

Applications for assistance will be taken today as well as Friday at the J.F. Hurley YMCA at Jake Alexander Boulevard, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Applications were accepted a week ago, with volunteers processing 182 on Thursday and 154 on Friday.

The Rowan County United Way and YMCA are key partners in the bureau. The United Way helped organize the group, with Jeanie Moore and Elaine Spalding acting as co-chairs, and the Y is hosting the application days.

The Christmas Bureau was created to spearhead the application process for several organizations’ Christmas giveaway programs. The bureau is a revival of a program that operated years ago under Rowan County Information and Referral with a similar goal — to help families in need have one centralized way to apply for Christmas help.

The idea of the bureau came about after Post editor Elizabeth Cook explored how to handle Christmas Happiness after the Department of Social Services said its agency would no longer be able to administer the program.

The Post receives donations from the community and the Salvation Army will now distribute those funds to families in need. As Cook began to talk with other agencies with Christmas programs, the idea came about to join forces to streamline the application process. The individual programs continue to operate as they have in the past, but the application process has been combined. Parents or guardians apply and the bureau volunteers will sort applicants into the agency that will provide help to meet their specific needs.

Parents or legal guardians applying for help should bring the following:

• A current N.C. picture ID or driver’s license,

• A W-7 for every member in the household

• If ID is expired, need lease and utility bill

• Medicaid card

• Birth certificate for all children 12 & under

• Proof of all income and expenses

• Unemployment and food stamp verification letter

• Custody papers if guardian

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