The fundraising season has officially begun, Operation Holiday officials announced Thursday.
The need is greater this year, said David Dear, Operation Holiday chairman.
This year’s goals include collecting 100,000 food items, 10,000 new or gently used coats, 10,000 new or like new scarves, mittens and hats, 4,000 blankets and $350,000 in cash in order to provide grocery cards and supplement food donations for the needy.
For more than half a century, Operation Holiday has provided help for the needy during the holiday season. As in past years, toys will also be collected through a partnership with the U.S. Reserve Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.
New this year will be a special emphasis to provide gifts for teens from low-income families. Last year, of the 5,010 households that received help, nearly 800 teens didn’t receive a gift.
This year, Inter-Faith Ministries — which oversees the Operation Holiday program — is turning to Wichita area teen groups to help collect or donate gifts for teens valued between $5 and $10 each. The goal is to collect more than 900 teen gifts.
Donations sites will be available on the Inter-Faith Ministries website, www.interfaithwichita.org.