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More people seeking help from Salvation Army

Local chapters of the organization they have seen a surge in the number of people applying for holiday assistance, including many people seeking help for the first time.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — More people appear to be seeking holiday help from the Salvation Army.

In Raleigh, it has been a record-breaking year, the chapter's director of operations, Paige Bagwell, says.

The Wake County chapter of the organization has seen a record number of people applying for aid in the form of food, toys and basic household goods because of the economy, the chapter's director of operations, Bagwell, says.

In 2007, the Wake County office helped 3,700 people with gifts and food for the holidays. Last year, that number jumped to 4,500. As of last week, the number was more than 5,300.

Salvation Army officials in Wilson County say they have seen a 70 percent increase over last year.

A large proportion of applications at both offices have been from people seeking assistance for the first time. That includes Janice Artis, who applied for help because of her grandson.

"I don't want him to have no Christmas," she said. "I, at least, want him to have a little something for Christmas."

The Salvation Army says the need for donations is more crucial than ever before, and officials urge people to donate food or toys through campaigns, such as Project Angel Tree or Toys for Tots.

Cash donations are also necessary, officials say, because they are used to help people throughout the year.


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