CLEARFIELD -- Santa needs more helpers this year, and the Family Connection Center hopes Davis County residents take on the role of willing elves.
Last year, the center's Sub for Santa community action program helped 1,700 kids.
The center expects to help more than 1,900 kids this Christmas, said Daneen Adams, the FCC's director of development and marketing.
"How can you tell a kid that there's no Santa Claus?"
The number of those the center will help has increased for two reasons, Adams said.
First, the information line 211 refers all Sub for Santa requests in the area to the FCC. Second, there are simply more people this season who need help providing presents for their children.
"We're in a recession," Adams said. "What's scary is, the face of poverty has changed. So many people we're seeing are middle-class families. They've never asked for help before."
Adams points to a story of a woman who came to pick up a Thanksgiving food box this month.
The woman told Adams she had driven around the block, crying, on two different days before swallowing her pride and asking for help. She had been an office manager for a construction company until she lost her job.
Many parents in similar situations are feeling that stress. Stress, especially around the holidays, is an unwanted guest, Adams said, adding, "We know sometimes stress leads to child abuse or bad decisions."
By donating to the FCC, people can help relieve that stress for parents who need help.
The FCC has already received some great help, Adams said. Davis Hospital and Medical Center in Layton gave $4,000 last week to assist in filling Thanksgiving food boxes.
For Christmas this year, the FCC is asking for donations of gifts valued at $20 or less for children up to age 17. Also, cash donations can be made through familyconnection4u.org.
"We are down in funding and really looking for the community to help us," Adams said. "We've never had to turn families away and hope that's the same for this year."
Children will each receive two gifts, a stocking, a hat and gloves made by local wards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They'll also receive a blanket.
Parents will either get to choose from donated gifts or will be accompanied by Hill Air Force Base employees to go shopping for gifts Dec. 22.
Those wishing to donate can either mail or drop gifts off at the Bountiful Police Department, 805 S. Main St., or the Layton Fire Department, 530 N. 2200 West.
They also can drop off gifts at FCC locations: 130 E. 100 North in Bountiful from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 1360 E. 1450 South in Clearfield from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The food bank also is accepting drop-offs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 875 E. Highway 193 in Layton.
Adams said people can always call the food bank at 801-771-4642 to arrange a drop-off time.
"Last year, we had, like, 10 toys by Dec. 15, and the community kicked in and helped out," she said. "We're short on toys and hope the community can help out again."