Local charities struggling to meet demands

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It's kind of hard not to talk about Thanksgiving. It's only a few days away.  Of course, that means Christmas is right around the corner.

Local charities and non-profits are already scraping the bottom of the barrel to bring the holidays to needy families this year.

The Tucson International Alliance of Refugee Communities helps legal immigrants assimilate to American life.

"First and most importantly is English," said Erina Delic of TIARC.  "Second is a lack of experience; so, whatever we do here we are trying to overcome these obstacles."

The group's executive director says part of lifting hopes for a new way of life is introducing the Christmas experience.  The problem is, the non-profit wants to serve 300 refugee children, but right now, volunteers only have about twenty toys. The agency wants Santa to bring lots of gifts this year.

"In some countries he's seen as a religious figure," said Delic.  "And what we learned here working in an international setting is that Santa always lights up dreams."

To donate, look for a Toys for Tots drop off site.

Christmas isn't Christmas without a feast. That's where the Salvation Army comes in.

"We do another 3500 plus meals on Christmas day as well as all the food boxes and the folks who need help for Christmas assistance so that's a lot of turkeys and a lot of food," said Tamara McElwee of the Salvation Army.

Bad economic times are expected to put a damper on this year's holiday meals. The freezer is typically stocked all the way to the top around this time of year.

"We really are down almost 60% from last year at this point in time we usually have turkeys coming out at us and we're able to distribute them to lots of different people who need them," said McElwee.

Hundreds of agencies encourage Tucsonans to dig deep in their pockets and help spread holiday cheer to a growing population in need.

The giving tree still needs more turkeys and canned goods for their thanksgiving dinner for the homeless.

Donations can be dropped off at the Compassion Hope Center near Swan and Broadway.