Christmas Holiday Bureau Provides Gift Cards to Needy Families

SCRANTON -- The Christmas season can take a lot out of you.

For the hundreds of moms and dads who will file through St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Scranton this week, It takes everything. And every little bit helps.

About 1,000 families will apply to receive a Walmart gift card compliments of the Christmas Holiday Bureau. Volunteers are doing interviews with potential recipients this week.

"Short on income, and this helps me out every year, every year. I have two kids, I have an 8-year-old and a 10-month-old," said Sarah Kishbaugh of Stroudsburg, who came for an interview.

Kishbaugh said in the past, the gift card went to food for her extended family during the holidays. This year, she has enough breathing room to buy her son some new Legos.

"All the kids really want for Christmas is love and just anything that he puts on his Christmas list, so me and his dad and his grandparents really try to make that happen," she added.

Volunteers Kara and Mark Seitzinger told Newswatch 16 each year the number of applicants grows, but the donations haven't been.

"This morning, I received an inbox message on the page I created for the Holiday Bureau from a woman in Carbondale who went to the place they normally would go to and she was turned away. She wanted to know if she could still be helped. She's past the deadline to fill out the application, but I'm going to find a way, somehow, to help her," Kara said.

Families receive a Walmart gift card ranging from $40 to $100 depending on the size of the family.

"It's only a little bit, for $40 you think, 'What will a family do?' But it may be enough to buy that one extra toy, to put some food on their table, or buy a winter coat that they might not be able to get someplace else," said Nancy Post of the Voluntary Action Center.

To donate to the Christmas Holiday Bureau, visit the Voluntary Action Center's website.