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Families apply for holiday help through Christmas Bureau

By Shavonne Walker
shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Hollie Henriksen spends much of her day shuffling her two boys to and from therapy appointments. The time spent with her sons, one of then autistic and the other with developmental delays, doesn’t leave her time to hold down a full-time job.

“I can’t work because they have so many doctor’s appointments,” she said.

On Friday, Henriksen sat down with volunteers to fill out an application with the Christmas Bureau to find out what local programs her children qualify for to assist them at Christmas.

Volunteers took applications Friday and will continue from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. They will return next Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at J.F. Hurley Family YMCA, 828 W. Jake Alexander Blvd.

The programs for which those in need are applying are the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, the Salisbury Post’s Christmas Happiness Fund, and First Baptist Church of Denton’s Project Santa.

Henriksen, who lives on the Rowan County side of Kannapolis, said she’s been able to provide Christmas for her boys for the last three years through the programs.

“It’s a real big help,” Henriksen said.

Her youngest son just discovered who Santa Claus is and is thrilled to learn Santa will visit their home.

“He would be upset if Santa did not come,” she said.

Henriksen said she’s had only good experiences with the volunteers.

“They’re always nice and polite. They are here to help those who need help,” she said.

Juana Curiel-Martinez has four children — Jennifer, 14, Wilbur, 8, Bryan, 12, and Jose Carbajal, 6. They would all benefit from any help from the organizations.

Curiel-Martinez said it’s a great program because sometimes she and her husband have been unable to find work.

“I came because I wanted the kids to have toys,” she said.

Jaleesa Miller and Tress Lilly waited in line with their month-old daughter, Malaysia, to sign up for a holiday program. The two also have an 8-year-old son, Deveon.

Miller said the help is needed for her family since she is not able to work with a new baby.

“We’re thankful for everybody that is helping us. It’s good to see everybody coming together to help,” Lilly said.

Kendra Torrence of Salisbury heard about the programs through the Rowan County Department of Social Services. Torrence, who receives Social Security benefits, says there just isn’t enough income to help her provide holiday gifts for her children — Leknyah, 13, Davaiiah, 11, Gazyairius, 10, Khalrius, 3.

“I’m really glad they have this program. If my kids are happy, then I’m happy,” Torrence said.

Those applying for help should bring the following records:

• Birth certificates for all children 12 and younger.

• The applicant’s driver’s license or other photo identification, along with guardianship papers if the applicant is not a parent.

• If no current ID is available, bring a lease and utility bill.

• Up-to-date Medicaid card for each child.

• Proof of all income and expenses, food and nutrition program voucher and/or unemployment benefits letter.

The Salvation Army and Hurley YMCA are United Way partner agencies.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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