MERRIAM, Kan. — The Johnson County Christmas Bureau is typically known for helping thousands of families around the holidays.
But this year, the local non-profit group is asking for help after running low on donations.
"Unfortunately, the donations for our canned goods are down," said executive director Lawrence Bigus. "In order to do what we've done in the past, we need a lot more canned goods."
JCCB received about 20 percent less of canned vegetables than it has in the past. With both canned corn and tomatoes at an all-time low.
Typically, the canned goods are always donated and come from the Shawnee Mission School District. The reason for the drop in donations is still unknown.
"Everybody will get protein," said Bing Bingham, who is in charge of the grocery section. "We were able to put protein in the budget for everyone this year. Plenty of vegetables so there will be fresh vegetables. It looks like we are going to work out ok for bread... but some of the canned goods we just won't be able to give as much as we normally do."
JCCB will help 12,000 people this year, giving away coats, gloves, household items, food, books and more for free. The clients first apply and are pre-approved before they can go "shopping."
Those who qualify are low-income Johnson County families who live below the 150 percent federal poverty line.
"A lot of these families are facing hard choices. Do I buy food for the dinner table tonight? Do I buy a winter coat for my child? Do I get the car fixed so I can go to work? Many of them can't even afford one of those options better yet all of them, so we try to give a little relief during the holiday season," said Bigus.
Donations can be dropped off any day until Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Sears in the old Metcalf South Mall.