From the looks of days like Black Friday, everyone is buying, buying, buying. But for a growing number of Lansing-area residents, that's no longer their reality.
"There are so many people in the working poor or people who are seeing harder days due to the economy," says Sharon Granger, VP of Community Impact for Capital Area United Way.
The local Salvation Army reports more than 3,000 families in the Lansing area have already requested assistance for the Christmas season. That's 300 more than last year at the same time, or up 11 percent.
"Many of them have come to us for the first time because they've lost their jobs recently," says Salvation Army Major Robert Scott.
And Scott says those 3,000 aid applicants are just the tip of the iceberg.
"We predict there will be 2,000 more at least, if not 3,000."
That's not good news. Scott says the local Salvation Army is $5,000 under its goal for this time. Only one room at the 3305 Pennsylvania Ave. location has been filled with donations so far. But across town at the Capital Area United Way, the donation situation is a little rosier.
"We're excited to report that [as of Nov. 9] over 75 percent of our $5.7 million [holiday] goal has been filled," Granger says.
But Granger adds the work will never be done as long as people need help. She points out it's especially hard for those who have never asked for assistance before.
"People are very prideful. They've had good jobs their whole lives, and now to have to ask for help, it's tough," she says.
To donate time, money or goods, you can contact the Salvation Army at (517) 484-4424, United Way at (517) 203-5000, or go to the "As Seen On 10" links on www.wilx.com.