People Helping People to help less fortunate with food, toy distribution

Every Christmas, parents with limited means face a hard choice: Buy toys and other gifts to put under the Christmas tree for their children while putting their bills on hold, or forego Christmas presents so they can keep up with their current expenses.
People Helping People, of Republic, aims to help area families from having to make that decision by providing them with food for a Christmas dinner, and gifts for their children. The items will be distributed to eligible families on Saturday, Dec. 15. About 90 families, including 300 children, are expected to be helped during the distribution.
Kathy Kelly, of People Helping People (PHP), said families who ask for assistance from PHP are considered on an individual basis.
“Families living in the Republic School District are eligible for assistance,” she said. “There are income guidelines, but each case is considered independently.  Children up to the age of 18 qualify for gifts.  Most of our Christmas clients are working families that are below the poverty level or families with disabilities or severe illnesses.”
When families come to the distribution site on Saturday, police volunteers will direct their cars to the PHP building, and other volunteers will load the cars with food and gifts for their children. Kelly said volunteers and families often experience joy at distribution time, but it’s also painful to see the level of poverty which exists in the community.
“The Christmas Assistance Program is both joyous and heart wrenching, both when taking applications and at distribution,” she said. “The need for this program is great (as) there are so many families facing difficulties. Medical problems often play a big role in those needing help.  At distribution, people cry at the generosity of our community; parents get out of their car to hug us.  Once a little girl, maybe four, was asked, as gifts were being loaded into the car, if she was excited about Christmas.  Her reply was, ‘Will we get any food?’  It’s very sad that a child must worry about eating. Most of the children adopted out will receive no Christmas, except what is given to them from our donors.”
Over the past month or so, volunteers have “adopted” children from the families by buying them presents, including toys, socks and underwear, to be given at the distribution (The volunteers only know the children’s first names and ages). The volunteers will bring their gifts to PHP on Dec. 12.
Of the 300 children whose families will be taking part in the distribution, however, about 30 still remain unadopted. Kelly said it is too late for them to be adopted out now, but PHP will accept donations to help them buy gifts for them.
“Not all children are adopted out, so at that point we use donated toys and money to complete the Christmas for the remaining children,” she said.
Kelly also said PHP will need donations to restock their pantry, as they expect to exhaust their food supply during the distribution.
“We have need of food to restock the shelves when we reopen in January, (because) we will empty the pantries for the Christmas distribution,” she said.
PHP could not help families in need without the generous assistance of its donors, and Kelly said they are very grateful to those who have given food, money and other items to help ensure the less fortunate will be able to enjoy Christmas.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of this town,” she said. “Businesses, churches, organizations, and individuals all step up to fill the needs at Christmas. As we like to say, ‘Republic Rocks!’  People donate, and we distribute. That is how People Helping People recycles kindness.”
People Helping People of Republic is located at   210 N. Pine Ave. in Republic. For more information about donating, volunteering, or the distribution, call (417)732-5464, e-mail them at, or go to their website at


Lawrence County Record

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Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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