By WAYNE ALLEN
PDT Staff Writer
The Salvation Army of Portsmouth is coordinating efforts between three area agencies that deliver toys to the needy children of the area. Each of the agencies turn in their lists to the Salvation Army to be checked for duplication of names.
Mark Ferreira, captain with the Salvation Army of Portsmouth, says more than 1,700 kids will be helped by these agencies alone.
“We (Salvation Army) have our Angel Tree Program and other organizations in our area are providing toys for children on Christmas. We try to work together and coordinate. Resources are limited and we want to try to use them as effectively as possible,” Ferreira said.
Ferreira said this is not the first time the Salvation Army has brought agencies together during the Christmas season.
“We want to avoid duplication of service. We want to reach out to everyone who is doing toys and trying to get the information shared,” Ferreira said. “We do this because it’s tough times and because everyone is in a position this year where there are more families that have approached them for assistance. The numbers have gone up across the board. We’ve had a few organizations that have contacted us about this that have not before.”
He said the Salvation Army is working with Catholic Social Services and Portsmouth Area Jaycees this year.
“We anticipate we will be working with the New Boston Police Department as we have in years past for their annual toy giveaway. We are also working closely with The Counseling Center to help provide for some of their needs. Catholic Social Services provides for the bulk of their toy needs as well,” Ferreira said.
Ferreira acknowledges there are other organizations within the community that provide toys for needy kids.
“I would encourage those organizations to contact us to cut down on duplications throughout the community. Some people make an honest mistake and they do not know that they are not supposed to sign up with multiple agencies. Others have attempted to take advantage of the system,” Ferreira said.
He said the number of children in need this year indicates the need of the community.
“We’re seeing the need for services rise in so many different areas. At Christmas time it’s an even larger spike (in demand), than we’ve seen in the past. We are finding parents that are being face with the choice between paying the bills or buying gifts for their children. That’s were we step in,” Ferreira said. “We want to be able to provide the gifts for the kids.”
Ferreira said it is too late for people to sign up to receive toys.
“We are at the point where organizations are collecting toys. People are taking the tags off the toys from us and Catholic Social Services and buying gifts,” Ferreira said. “We are all hoping that enough people will be generous and buy toys for these children, so that we can provide a good Christmas for them.”