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Syracuse Christmas Bureau on pace to help same number of families as last year

Ellen Abbott

The Salvation Army’s Christmas Bureau in Syracuse is wrapping up registration for this holiday season.

The yearly food and toy giveaway can be a harbinger of the local economy. The number of people signing up for this year’s toy and food giveaway looks to be about the same as last year, according to Salvation Army Executive Director Linda Lopez. And she says that shows her that there are still hundreds of central New York families that need some help getting through the holidays.

"I think we continue to see not only families who may be unemployed, but we also see a lot of families who are working at jobs that don’t afford them enough resources to celebrate Christmas with their families,” said Lopez. She says the next hurdle is collecting donations.

“Donations are always a challenge. There’s lots of things going on in our community. We want to make sure we have enough toys for every child and food for everyone. I think food donations in particular are a little bit lower than we’d like to see them at this time, and so we’ll continue to reach out to the community to get support for these things,” said Lopez.

The Christmas Bureau offers eligible low-income families books, toys and a holiday food basket. Lopez expects the bureau to serve about 2,700 families, including more than 6,700 children this year. Over the last nine years, 22,000 families and 55,000 children have been served by the Christmas Bureau.