People experiencing unexpected hardships can get help from Share the Season beginning Monday.
The local nonprofit provides one-time assistance to people who need help because of hardships such as job loss or illness during the holidays. Applications will be accepted Monday through Dec. 15.
This marks the 18th season for Share the Season. Last year, more than 117 families were helped by the $243,650 donated by Wichitans. Since it began, the program has helped 3,300 families with $3.1 million.
Last November, the program helped people like a woman who had just gone through a divorce and had moved her three girls out of a house with no electricity into an apartment. Then her apartment caught fire.
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“It was a total loss,” she wrote on her application to Share the Season last year. “I lost everything I worked hard for … I lost everything from medicine to furniture.”
Share the Season helped provide the basics to start over.
“It was very helpful,” the woman said.
Share the Season is a partnership between the Wichita Community Foundation, the Salvation Army and the Wichita Eagle.
The average Share the Season recipient gets help paying utility or medical bills. Payments are made directly to creditors. In recent years, contributions have continued to pour in after the holiday season, and some have been used to help people with unexpected needs at other times of the year.
Families who often don’t qualify for other programs apply for assistance and are screened by the Salvation Army to verify needs. The Wichita Eagle donates ad space and runs daily stories on families in need. The Wichita Community Foundation handles all donations and issues receipts to those who donate.
“Thanks to the generosity of our donors,” said Shelly Prichard, executive director of the Wichita Community Foundation, the program has become a Wichita tradition. “My hope is that Wichitans will continue the giving spirit and lend a hand to friends and neighbors facing hardships this holiday season. Whether it’s $5, $20 or $100, every contribution makes a difference.”
How to get help
People can apply for assistance at www.sharetheseason.org and at the Salvation Army headquarters, 350 N. Market. If you have questions about applying, call 316-263-2769 or visit www.sharetheseason.org. The application deadline is Dec. 15.
How to give help
Donors can send contributions to Share the Season, Wichita Community Foundation, 301 N. Main, Suite 100, Wichita, KS 67202. Donations can also be made through PayPal online at www.sharetheseason.org.