MODESTO -- Sign-ups began this week for the holiday gift baskets provided by The Salvation Army to the needy in Modesto and Turlock.
Both chapters, as well as Modesto Gospel Mission, are hoping people will donate items and money to help fill the baskets and make the holidays a little brighter for their clients.
"Donations are low," said Lisette Maunakea, who coordinates the Turlock Together program, a project of churches and community groups run out of The Salvation Army. "We're hoping that it picks up as the holiday gets closer."
The Turlock Together program and the Modesto Salvation Army again plan to help 2,000 families each this year.
Salvation Army Capt. Mike Paugh said there has been a steady stream of sign-ups, though the rain slowed them a bit Wednesday. "We still have 2½ weeks to go," he said.
The chapter is collecting toys, canned goods, turkeys and hams. "Anything that you would have on your Christmas table, we're going to supply to 2,000 families," Paugh said.
Modesto Gospel Mission has an annual "Happy Birthday, Jesus" party at which it feeds a crowd and gives out gifts. The organization is in need of hams for the dinner, as well as "Christmas gifts of all kinds," said event coordinator Pam Dumas. That includes toys for children, as well as baby items and gifts for teenagers and women.
"And we don't get a whole lot of stuff for men," Dumas said. "People think of toys, which is great, but we like to give a gift away to everybody."
The mission is in need of "canned goods, always," Dumas said.
Sign-ups for Turlock Together will be taken until Dec. 7. The Modesto Salvation Army is accepting sign-ups through Dec. 14.
Donations for the Modesto Salvation Army can be dropped off at its office at Seventh and I streets.
Donations for Turlock Together can be taken to the Turlock Salvation Army, 893 Lander Ave.
Donations for Modesto Gospel Mission can be dropped off at the mission, 1400 Yosemite Blvd.
Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter, @pattyguerra.