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AZ Families in Need but Santa’s Sack is Running on Empty

November 24, 2009

PHOENIX - With the numbers of homeless and hungry still rising and Arizonans without jobs in the hundreds of thousands, the state's holiday family programs are being overwhelmed. Arizona Community Action Association executive director Cynthia Zwick says families seeking help are being told that this year's lists for many programs are already full. But, she says, donating even a single can of food to a local food bank will make a difference and help make someone's holiday a little brighter.

"Money, food, toys or clothing can be donated during this holiday season so that families that are struggling can receive some of those gifts and still provide a nice Christmas or holiday for their kids."

Even if you've never donated to a holiday charity drive in the past, Zwick says you should seriously consider doing so this year.

"More families than ever need help this year, and if you haven't had a chance to contribute in the past, or haven't felt that the need was that great, now is the time to step forward and help out your neighbor, who is actually someone who may benefit from it this year."

Zwick's agency is part of Operation Santa Claus, a major effort in the Phoenix area benefiting children's charities. The drive runs through December 22, and you can find more information on it at

Donations to benefit families statewide can be made at

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ