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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A warning siren from several groups helping the needy: donations are down in the days leading to Christmas. Food, money, toys, clothes -- all are desperately needed to make Christmas a brighter day for the underprivileged.
"It was hell," an anonymous resident of the Center for Women and Families told us. "It was really bad."
We can't tell you her name or show you her face, but you know her unfortunate story.
"...on the third or fourth incident of police getting called to our house from him going crazy, they told me, 'You need to go there,'" she said.
Once again, the Center for Women and Families hopes to raise 1,000 $25 gift cards to big box stores and give them to women and children just like this -- but leaders say donations are slower this holiday season.
They're only halfway there.
"It is harder because of the shortened time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas," said Jeanine Tripplett of the Center for Women and Families. "We have one less week, as you know, and I think it's catching people off guard, and more people are doing last-minute shopping, and the weather this past weekend didn't help."
The Center is not alone. Michael Morgan collects food, cash and gift cards for the Service for Peace Christmas Angel program.
"We're collecting for our military heroes their children and families," Morgan said. "We get a lot of request from guard members who don't even have enough gas to get to their monthly training."
They still need supplies for 100 Christmas baskets for local families.
"We'll do anything to make this happen," Morgan said.
And even Salvation Army pots are a little bit more empty. The organization says its Red Kettle campaign is down $20,000 in southern Indiana from last year.
Bell ringers could be seen outside both doors at a New Albany Kroger. One of them was Steve Latimer, who called collections "kind of slow."
"It's good to see the people, but it's not real busy," he said. Salvation Army Major Stephen Kiger said, "No one will be left out as a result of that, but we'll just have to figure out ways to stretch things that we normally wouldn't have to do."
Back at the Center for Women and Families, one that unnamed mother is making a Christmas wish: to give her 4-year-old just a bit of normal.
"Now he's into Spider-Man and Batman...it's awesome," she said. "The importance of being able to buy your own kid a present for Christmas...it's just...it helps so much. When they gave us those cards last year, it was the biggest smile on anybody's face."
Want to help out? Here is the contact information for the various groups mentioned above:
Service for Peace Military family Christmas angel program Make a tax deductible cash donation online at: http://www.razoo.com/story/Christmas-Angel or Send gift cards or tax deductible check to: Service For Peace PO Box 17006 Louisville, KY 40217
Center for Women and Families 927 S. 2nd Street Louisville, KY. 40203 (502) 581-7200
Salvation Army Red Kettles posted outside retailers throughout Kentuckiana.