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Elf Coalition offers Christmas help for East Texas families

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
Oct. 16, 2012 at 10 p.m.


It's only October, but parents or guardians who believe they will need help providing Christmas presents for their children can begin signing up with several agencies that are part of the Elf Coalition.

The Elf Coalition agencies work to ensure that local children get Christmas presents and that there are no duplications. People can sign up with only one of the agencies.

Members of the Elf Coalition are: Toys for Tots, Salvation Army, Buckner Children and Family Services, Presbyterian Children's Home & Services, Hiway 80 Rescue Mission, Havertys Angel Tree and Blue Santa.

Parents or guardians of children in Longview, Gladewater, Hallsville, Kilgore, Henderson and Gilmer may apply for assistance; although not all members of the coalition help children in all those locations. In order to receive help, parents or guardians must bring a picture ID, a birth certificate or proof of guardianship for each child, an electric bill from their residence and, if any member of the household is on Medicaid, supporting documents for that service.

Sign-ups for the annual Toys for Tots program will be Saturday at the Marine Corps League Building, 1512 Alpine Road. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. There is no need to schedule an appointment. For information, call (903) 757-8762.

Sign-ups for the Presbyterian Children's Home & Family Services will be the week of Oct. 22-26. People must schedule an appointment by calling (903) 983-3069. This group supplies gifts to Kilgore residents only.

Havertys Angel Tree gets much of its information from school counselors, but will also be accepting applications directly from parents or guardians on Friday and Monday. To schedule an appointment, call (903) 757-5904.

Sign-ups for Salvation Army have already begun and will continue through Friday in Longview. It is not taking any further appointments from Longview residents, but will be at the Gladewater Housing Authority, 777 S. Tyler St., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to take applications from Gladewater residents only; and at Helping Hands in Kilgore, 201 S. Main, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 31 to take applications from Kilgore residents only.

Hiway 80 Rescue Mission takes applications later than most of the other members of the Elf Coalition. People may come to the administrative office, 3117 W. Marshall Ave., during the week of Nov. 26-30 to schedule an appointment.

Buckner Children and Family Services has already scheduled all of its appointments for this year.

The Blue Santa program does not take applications. It helps families based on information the Longview Police Department receives from officers on patrol.

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