United Way urges families to register for holiday assistance

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Heart of West Michigan United Way encourages families to register soon for its holiday assistance programs. 

Registration for these programs is in full swing. The organization said families may wait until closer to Christmas to get help without realizing registration for a number of the programs close mid-November.

It’s a problem they have seen in the past. 

“You think about the holiday as it gets closer to you. You don’t think about it two months ahead. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with programs where they rely on volunteers and have to pack everything, you have to do it early,” said Heart of West Michigan United Way Director of Programs and Services Sherri Vainavicz. 

A majority of the programs that close mid-November are the food assistance programs, including holiday food baskets.

Vainavicz told News 8 there is a capacity on a number of these programs. For some, the maximum number is 100 per neighborhood. 

The programs United Way offers are for any families with a child 16-years-old or younger who need help providing food over the holiday season. 

The holiday assistance programs have different qualifying requirements, sign-up locations and deadlines.

United Way encourages families interested in registering for a program to contact 2-1-1 within the next few weeks. Specialists will work with the families to determine which program is best for them. 

For more information on the holiday assistance programs or for information on how to volunteer for the programs, click here

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