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Local agencies still welcome food, money

MANATEE — The hallway outside the Salvation Army family shelter was lined with toys Tuesday.

Cheerleader dolls. Classic car toys. Red Baron bears. You name it.

“People have been generous about getting things for the kids,” said Daryl Parslow, the family shelter’s assistant manager.

That seemed to be the situation at other social service agencies two days before Christmas.

“We were worried,” said Charmian Miller, the finance director at Manatee Children’s Services. “Fortunately, there were enough people who came forward.”

Yet there are some last-minute gift ideas for folks wishing to make Christmas a little brighter for the less fortunate.

Take the mothers of the five homeless families and 11 children who are staying at the Salvation Army family shelter through the holidays.

While their kids will receive their share of presents, the same can’t be said for the moms.

“The moms always seem left out, a little lacking something to pamper themselves with,” Parslow said. “Girlie stuff.”

Body lotion, ethnic hair products, hair brushes, makeup and shampoo were some of the items mentioned.

“They can take a few minutes for themselves, back off and relax rather than be concerned with what the kids are doing or what else is going on,” Parslow said.

Call the Salvation Army at 748-5110 or bring the gift donations to 1204 14th St. W.

Over at Hope Family Services, Diane Shoemaker said last-minute Christmas generosity is most welcome.

“Food baskets are something we can always use,” the director of development said. “Non-perishable food, canned food, too. We can also use gift cards for stores like Wal-Mart that allow us to buy emergency needs.”

Call Hope Family Services at 747-8499.

As for other agencies, they’re reportedly set with regard to Christmas presents for clients.

Manatee Children’s Services has been able to fill the wish lists of its 250 families and still have something to give in case of an emergency.

“If a child comes in today, we’ll be able to make sure they get something,” Miller said.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055, or write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, Fla. 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@bradenton.com.

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