BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) - It was a busy day at the Salvation Army in Beaufort as families applied for Christmas assistance.
"We had people standing," said Capt. Peggy Griffin. "We had all the chairs full in the lobby. We had people standing, waiting to get in because people are so desperate to try and make sure their children have Christmas."
Kiwana Washington is one of many who came to make sure her four children would have toys under the tree.
"I just wanted to provide more for my children that I can not provide for them at the moment," said Washington. "I know Salvation Army does their best to help the children."
She's certainly not alone. Griffin says this year, the need is great.
"A lot of people have been cut at work, they're not getting enough hours," said Griffin. "We're seeing a lot of people getting laid off and really struggling right now just to pay their basic bills, and have their basics, much less Christmas.
Last year they helped nearly 3,200 children in Beaufort County. This year they're expecting a 20 percent increase.
Although many don't want to have to come here for assistance, many like Niesha Jenkins are grateful for the help.
"I'm just thankful for everything that they do because it also helps me out because its less stress because you know you want your children to have a beautiful Christmas," said Jenkins. "I love to see a smile on my kids faces.
"I teach my kids the true meaning of Christmas but at the same time I want my children to be happy," said Washington.
She says the gifts her children received through this program in years past made their holiday bright.
"It just brightened up their day," said Washington. "They were just so happy and it was just so joyful to see the responses on their faces."
To register for Christmas assistance on Hilton Head Island call 843.785.2849. To register in Bluffton call 843.757.8000.
To make a donation to the Salvation Army send a check to:
The Salvation Army
P.O. Box 105
Beaufort, SC 29901