Local News

Christmas-Assistance Program Being Abused

Posted November 20, 2007 6:01 p.m. EST
Updated November 20, 2007 11:31 p.m. EST

— About 200 people have taken advantage of a holiday assistance program aimed to help families provide gifts for children this year.

That's according to the Salvation Army and Wake County Human Services, who are reaching out to about 6,000 families this year as part of the county's Holiday Cheer program.

Under its policy, however, families in need of assistance are only allowed to register with one of about a dozen agencies that participate in the program.

"We know that this was intentional, said Ashley Delamar, director of operations and communications of The Salvation Army of Wake County. "Obviously, you don’t' register for Christmas assistance for two different agencies by accident."

Although the Salvation Army has two tractor-trailers full of toys and gifts for children, Delamar said that families registering twice means others are left in need.

"If those 200 slots had been open, that's 200 new families in need that could have been assisted," he said.

For those who depend on the holiday-assistance programs, the news is tough for them to hear, they said.

"My children really wouldn't have had any Christmas if it wasn't for the Salvation Army," said Serita Faison, who has been a recipient of the service.

Delamar said that those caught abusing the system will not be allowed to use it next year.

"Our take on it is they're trying to maximize what they can receive on Christmas through the assistance that is available, and that's just wrong," he said. "That's misusing the system."