WICHITA — Operation Holiday officials acknowledged today that their task is monumental — raising money when the need is so great and so many Wichitans have been laid off or had salaries cut.
"The health of our business and the health of our economy is significantly linked," said Shawn Lancelot, president of Bank of America, and this year's chair of Operation Holiday.
Operation Holiday provides assistance to people in need during the holidays. It would like to raise more than $300,000 in cash; receive 140,000 non-perishable food items; 5,000 new or gently used blankets and 3,000 clean and warm coats.
Last year, Operation Holiday assisted 13,675 adults with 6,472 children, said Sue Castile, executive director of Inter-Faith Ministries, which serves as the umbrella organization for the annual drive.
The need is greater this year, in part because there have been nearly 17,000 layoffs in Sedgwick County since October 2008, she said.
"We are experiencing a significant increase in requests for help," Castile said. "We need the community's help like never before."
Applications for help will be taken from Nov. 2 through Nov. 24 at locations throughout the city. Donations will also be accepted at several locations.