HELENA — The COVID-19 pandemic has affected a lot of families this year, creating an increased need this holiday season. Thankfully, a lot of organizations are stepping up to help out.
Toys for Tots in Helena is already collecting donations and coordinating with Lewis and Clark Public Health to develop a plan for their distribution to thousands of local children.
“We are starting those sign-ups and we anticipate probably a 30 to 40 percent increase in the number of families that are going to need help,” said Howard Mears, Helena Toys for Tots coordinator.
This year the organization will be operating out of the 4-H Bill Hamilton Building at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds. Families can sign-up for the event at Life Covenant Church on Hoback Street.A full list of times when families can come in can be found here.
Mears says even with the expected increase in need, he hopes any family that needs support reaches out.
After all, they’re there to help and they’re not the only one.
The United Way of the Lewis and Clark Area (UWLCA) has compiled a list of organizations that are supporting families this holiday season, whether through holiday gifts or making sure food is on the table.
In addition to Toys for Tots, Good Samaritan Ministries and the Catholic Diocese of Helena will be running their yearly giving tree.
The Helena Salvation Army is also helping out families with clothing, toys, food and other basic needs.
God’s Love will also be providing their yearly Thanksgiving and Christmas Day meals at the shelter.
UWLCA Executive Director Emily McVey says there are a lot of helping organizations that could use extra support this year.
However, due to COVID a lot of plans are in flux and McVey encourages people to reach out to the organizations with questions about services offered or volunteer opportunities.
“A lot of the Stuff is virtual and very, very different this year,” explained McVey. “Give that organization a call, see what things look like right now with them.”
One of the best ways to help out this holiday season is by making a donation. Something as small as dropping off a toy, or making a donation online can make a world of difference to a family struggling during a difficult time.