Here in Santa Cruz, California, the unemployment rate is 6.1% compared to the national average of 5.8%. If you ask me, both figures are low compared to actuality. There are many people that don't get counted in those statistics, such as people who have already used all their benefits, but still can't find work. People such as myself that were 'self-employed' and businesses went under or closed, so they have no benefits. I'm sure here is not any different than many other parts of the country going through the same things.
As I scroll through the "Wanted" category of Criag's List, I come upon families after families that are asking for help for Christmas. These are usually parents looking for a way to bring Christmas to their children. Of course you always run across a person or two that are putting things on their just to try their luck, but many of the requests are sincere.
When I see some of the requests, even though I can't help financially, I do respond with places people can go for help, or ideas that may help them in their requests. One such post I came across was from a father in the area who was asking for another family that he might exchange gently used toys with. As he said, "gently used to you would be new to my kids". A lot of these families have barely money to eat on, let alone by Christmas gifts for their children.
One post I came across was from a woman with 3 children who didn't know where to turn. She had been to the Salvation Army who told her they already had done their Christmas sign-ups. Another charity that is popular in this area does gifts only for foster children, so there is no "getting on the list". I suggested a few charities I know about where she may find help, and then suggested the 'toy exchange' idea in her area. She and her husband are working on it. I happen to know in her area unemployment runs rampant. Hopefully this will help families that are too late for their children "to get on the list".
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