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      "Toys for Tots" deadline approaching, apply now

      "Toys for Tots" reaching out to needy families. / Jessica Fairley

      Christmas time will soon be here and local officials say families needing assistance getting toys for their tots aren't applying for help.

      It's a week out from the deadline of the Christmas toy distribution of The Salvation Army and the Marine Corps Reserves and only 150 families have signed up for the program. Officials say last year they had more than 300 applicants by this point.

      "If you receive any kind of assistance from any other agencies, more than likely you do apply," says Albany Salvation Army Corps Officer Doug McClure.

      This is something many families may not know.

      During the economic downturn, Albany has been ranked as one of the poorest cities in the nation and officials say "Toys for Tots" aim is to bring light to the situation, providing parents with a financial sense of relief around the holidays.

      "They can dedicate that money towards paying utilities, keeping the rent up, taking care of all the other things," says Doug McClure.

      Organizers for the non-profit organization and department of defense say they want to give each child an enjoyable Christmas.

      "Toys for Tots" is available to anyone in the community that qualifies and you won't know if you're qualified unless you come out and provide the proper documentation," says Marine Corps H.M. 1 Bennett.

      Last year "Toys for Tots" serviced more than 700 children and families in the Albany area, turning away no one asking out of need and this year organizers are striving to reach that goal.

      Christmas applications are available at The Salvation Army located at 304 West 2nd Avenue in Albany until the first week in November. The dates are set for October 24-28 & October 31-November 4 from 9am-2pm.

      A list of required documentation is included:

    • STATE ISSUED PICTURE ID
    • BIRTH CERTIFICATES FOR ALL CHILDREN applying
    • CURRENT FOOD STAMP SUMMARY - IN YOUR NAME
    • CURRENT RENT RECEIPT - IN YOUR NAME/spouse
    • CURRENT UTILITY BILL - IN YOUR NAME/spouse
    • VERIFICATION OF ALL INCOME for entire house
    • (TANF, SSI, CHILD SUPPORT, EMPLOYMENT, GRAFA, ETC.)
    • Medicare CARDS FOR EVERYONE
    • A complete list of information needed to receive assistance can be found on the organization's website at www.salvationarmyalbany.org/alb2011christmasapps.

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