HARTFORD, Conn. — With inflation and the pandemic taking a toll on many families, the need for help has skyrocketed, especially this holiday season.
Connecticut family's pockets are being squeezed even more with increased costs to heat a home, feed a family or pay monthly rent.
Many have turned to groups like the Salvation Army for help, but even they are struggling to keep up with the demands.
"We’re behind 35% where we were last year so this is a concern because that makes the gap in the amount of resources we need even greater," said Major Debra Ashcraft, Divisional Commander for Southern New England Division.
On top of that, there has been a shortage of bell ringers.
In 2019, they had more than 600 bell ringers per day. There were over 400 last year and this year, there are only 384.
"For some, it can be health concerns. We know that we’re in a time where people are still struggling with COVID and the flu. We also know many folks have taken on additional jobs to be able to make ends meet and they may not have that extra time," added Ashcraft.
Just as many Connecticut families are turning to local churches who are stepping up, even more, this holiday season with food assistance and toys to put under the tree.
One of those churches is the First Assembly of God Church in Torrington which earlier this fall began collecting gifts for thousands of children.
During their event Love and Action this Saturday, the church will pass out Christmas gifts alongside some joy and happiness.
"We want to bring joy to each family, we don’t want to see anybody struggling," said Pastor Anthony DeRosa.
More than 100 volunteers took on the role of Santa's elves to wrap up pallets of gifts.
The gifts are from Amazon and will be appropriate for newborns to 12-year-old boys and girls.
"We want every kid to have a present underneath the Christmas tree," added Pastor DeRosa.
The First Assembly of God, located at 387 New Harwinton Road in Torrington, will be holding its event Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.
There will be free food, a nativity show, over one thousand food bags, and crafts.
If you are interested in donating or volunteering to be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army, click here for more information.
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