Holiday assistance program short on donations

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Thursday is distribution day for Operation Holiday, the largest holiday assistance program in Wichita, but organizers say they remain short on donations and volunteers.

"We’ve seen a great response in the last couple days and things are picking up," explains LaTasha St. Arnold. "We still are a little bit behind from typical years."

St. Arnold says about 600 people signed up to volunteer, but they need many more ahead of distribution day. From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. the organization is accepting walk-in volunteers at the Towne West distribution center.

"We are in desperate need of volunteers to help us put on this program," says St. Arnold.

To find out more information on volunteering or donating, click here.

Some of the items Interfaith Ministries needs includes gently used coats, new hats, gloves, socks, underwear, and non-perishable food items.

The organization expects to serve more than 14,000 families this year.

(RELEASE) With just one week to go until distribution begins, Inter-Faith Ministries says they are substantially down in donations for Operation Holiday—particularly in nonperishable foods, blankets, new or gently used children’s coats, and monetary donations.

Typically 80,000 canned goods are distributed through Operation Holiday but the organization only has about 26,000 as of today. The organization has some bulk deliveries scheduled for this weekend, but says they really need donations of canned fruits and vegetables, grains, soups, proteins, cereal and peanut butter. They are also about half of where they would like to be on children’s coats and blankets. Monetary donations are also requested, which help the organization purchase food, gifts for teens, and other items in bulk.

Inter-Faith Ministries has processed applications for 13,389 low-income individuals and families so far—54.4% of whom are children—but expects to serve over 14,000 when distribution takes place next Thursday through Saturday, December 13-15, at the Operation Holiday warehouse in the old Sears at Towne West. From these households, nearly 2,000 pets will receive pet food through a program started in 2015.

Those who missed the November 30th deadline to apply but have since reached out have been told to come to the Operation Holiday warehouse on Saturday, December 15th afternoon 12pm when IFM will distribute whatever it has left.

“We hear heartbreaking stories every day of folks who didn’t need assistance last month when we were taking applications, but do now,” says IFM Operation Holiday Director Ashley Davis. “There’s the single father of three who lost his job unexpectedly, the family who lost everything in a fire, and so many more—we really don’t want to send them home without anything or with only a few things. Please give whatever you can.”

Donations can be dropped off at any Dillons location, In The Bag cleaners (coats and blankets only), and the Operation Holiday warehouse in the old Sears at Towne West Mall. For more information or to make a donation online, please visit operationholiday.org.