FARMINGTON -- A record 600 Davis families were provided with Thanksgiving dinner by the Family Connection Center.
"That is the most food boxes they have had to give out," Davis County Commissioner John Petroff Jr. said at Tuesday's commission meeting as he recognized the work of the FCC food bank and the need that lies ahead with Christmas.
"There is a lot of talk about needs this holiday season."
The FCC, based in Clearfield, with a food bank in Layton, is now staring at a repeat performance for Christmas -- only this time, it also needs to provide gifts from Santa for about 1,800 children.
The center is in the midst of trying to replenish its food supplies and its fund balance to provide more than 600 families with a Christmas food box and provide 1,800 children with "two or three" Christmas gifts, said Daneen Adams, FCC director of development and marketing.
"As of right now, we have over 600 families signed up for Christmas help, Sub for Santa," Adams said.
On average, she said, each family requesting help has three children who are 17 years old or younger.
"This is the most families we have ever had sign up for Christmas," she said of what amounts to an 18 percent increase over the number of families the FCC served at this time last year. "But we are going to give it our best shot."
"A lot of the families we have been seeing are middle-class families that have lost their job," Adams said. "It is so hard for these families to come in and ask for help, but because of their children, they are."
Compounding matters is that, on a budget that has been cut, the FCC is trying to provide assistance for an increased number of families, Adams said.
To help, people can donate a toy for a boy or a girl from newborn to age 17, make a $20 donation to the FCC or bring in food donations, she said.
"We started collecting food months ago," Adams said, crossing her fingers the FCC will have enough food and toys to go around this Christmas.
Some companies providing assistance are Chevron, which made a large contribution, and BioLife, in Layton, which is hosting a contest for a television for those customers who bring in a toy or make a $20 donation to FCC.
Other contributors include ATK and University of Utah tailgaters, who at a moment's notice donated $600 in cash to FCC while attending festivities before the BYU-Utah football game in Salt Lake City last weekend.
"One game, $600. They were all Ute fans," Adams said, excited about the attention FCC received by posting a sign at the tailgate party.
County Commissioner Louenda Downs said the FCC food bank in Layton and the food pantry in Bountiful are the two main food banks in Davis County, with the Layton food bank receiving the majority of use.
"Most of our clients are from north Davis County," Adams said, "but we still see some people from south Davis County."
Other interesting contributions recently made to FCC came from two area youngsters: One little boy mailed 23 pennies to FCC, while another young boy made a $45 donation to FCC consisting of coins, officials said.
"The whole community has stepped up to the plate," Adams said.
But FCC officials are hoping the number of families needing help in the future will diminish.
"The whole point of our center is to overcome poverty," Adams said.
"We want to see those numbers go down, not up. We don't want to create dependency. We want to create self-reliance," she said of the FCC's offering support service programs, including job interview assistance.
Those wanting to make a donation to FCC can bring toys and food items to 875 E. Hwy 193 in Layton. Those wanting to make a cash contribution can mail checks to Family Connection Center, Layton, UT 84041, or make a donation online at www.familyconnection4u.org.
Adams said the center can also use volunteers to fill orders.