OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The pandemic, inflation and a number of other factors have made it more difficult for families to get Christmas gifts for their children.
"A lot of people are struggling right now. Even though pay has increased it hasn’t kept up with inflation, so that’s made it hard for a lot of families and they’re struggling to have the extra funds for Christmas toys this year," Chelsea Salifou, CEO of the Heartland Hope Mission said.
The Heartland Hope Mission distributes toys through its "Hope-Filled Christmas" program, ensuring families are able to put toys under the tree. This year, they're helping over 2,500 kids, more than double the number of kids the organization helped last year.
"Christmas is so important because it gives people hope and parents want to be able to provide for their kids and just being able to have something under the tree for their kids, it lets the kids know they are important, they’re valued and that’s really what we want to do," Salifou said.
Families register online and community members can adopt families. They'll use the lists the parents made and purchase gifts. Gifts are also donated through drives and some are bought by the Heartland Hope Mission.
Families who utilize the resource are grateful the community and Heartland Hope Mission came together to help this holiday season.
"It means everything, because the pandemic and funds are always a little low nowadays. It takes a lot for a person to get outside their comfort zone, such as myself, and reach out to these resources to take advantage and know there’s people out there who have compassion for people, which I think we lack in the world today. Puts a little faith in humanity," said Gene Marr, a parent who is getting toys for his kids through Heartland Hope Mission.
The Heartland Hope Mission also distributed holiday pantries, including a turkey or ham and all the side dishes to make a Christmas meal.