Salvation Army expects 15% increase in need for holiday help

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of families were waited in line Monday when the Salvation Army began accepting applications for a Thanksgiving meal through its holiday assistance program.

The Salvation Army said it expects to see an increase of 15 percent more families seeking help this season, partially due to people still suffering from Hurricane Irma.

"I was out without power for five days. FEMA helped me and I was able to apply for some food, but not much, so I'm here now," Beverly Holloman said.

A month after Irma, many people are still struggling for basic needs like food and water. Holloman's Westside family is turning to the Salvation Army’s holiday assistance program for the first time.
"Like I said, never been in a situation like this, but I'm able come in to help," Holloman said.

Families will receive a basket of food and all the ingredients needed to cook a traditional Thanksgiving meal, which Holloman hopes will make it a special holiday for her family.

The Salvation Army is also accepting applications for its Angel Tree program, will help parents provide a special  gift for their children.

There isn’t a limit on the number of applications they’re taking, but they are expecting at least 3,500 families to apply and about 5,000 children will get Angel Tree bags filled with new toys and clothes.

"Those needs may change this year. It may be more basic needs, like clothing or items that need to be replaced," Salvation Army Major Bert Tanner said.

The Salvation Army is taking applications at its downtown location, 15 East Church Street. It's open from 9 to 11:30 a.m. for the next two weeks, including Saturday, Oct. 21.

People applying are asked to bring following documentation, including:

  • Picture I.D. for all adults in household 
  • Social Security cards for all household members (including adults)
  • Birth certificates for all children (age 18 and under).Or legal proof of custody. 
  • Verification of all household income which can include: TANF, SNAPS, child support and see qualifying income criteria - last three consecutive pay stubs, social security/disability award letters, unemployment benefits statement, school tuition letter, etc. A self-employed individual must provide completed tax returns from previous year. 
  • Verification of all household expenses: utilities bill with service address, car insurance, car note, utility allowance, medical bills, etc. 
  • Proof of residency: lease, deed, or mortgage statement If you are living with family/friends and you are not on the lease, you must still meet the qualifying income criteria, and present a notarized letter from the person on the lease that states the named individuals living with them (include address and rent charged, if any).
  • In addition, you must provide incoming mail to verify address, if utility bill cannot be attained.