Holiday help: Giving back or getting help

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By Jason Aubry

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Thanksgiving is just ten days away, but there are still ways you can get assistance if you need it – or give back to your community.

Reggie Smith has been a Salvation Army bell ringer for five years. He has his reasons for braving the weather to do so.

"At one time in my life I needed help, and they helped me; so I can help them,” said Smith.

Smith says, giving doesn't always have to be about money, it can be time or energy. He says it’s easy to do.

"All you got to do is get up in the morning and come down here and do it; but you got to have a good heart though. You got to want to give,” said Smith.

But not everyone is in a position to give back. Some need help to make the holidays special.

"We understand that things happen; that life happens. And no one has any control over that. And we just want to help everybody have a wonderful Christmas,” said Libby Unruh, Social Services Director Salvation Army Kroc Center.

The Salvation Army is once again offering several Christmas assistance programs, but there is a hitch this year.

"We sign up for all of our Christmas assistance programs at once,” said Unruh.

That happened last week, after an exhausting political season.

As a result, the numbers of families who have signed up is significantly down.

"It's okay to come in and ask for help, there are no income guidelines,” said Unruh.

If you want to give back, the clock is ticking for families or businesses that want to adopt a family for the holidays.

To sign up for assistance, go to the Kroc Center’s chapel Thursday or Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You'll need picture IDs and social security numbers for anyone in the home over 18, birth certificates for anyone under 18 and proof of earned or unearned income - such as food stamps and other government assistance. You’ll also need proof of address, such as a lease or utility bill.

If you want to adopt a family, go to the Kroc Center's website and fill out the application before December 5th.

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