Christmas Bureau in Topeka declines in applicants

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The adoption process for 2016’s Christmas Bureau program is a lot slower than usual. But, workers aren’t sure what the problem is. The United Way of Greater Topeka has their Christmas Bureau program every year that helps thousands of families get gifts from other generous people.

“It’s the first time I’m doing this and I think it’s pretty nice,” Topekan, Luis Rivera said.

Rivera is one of the hundreds of people participating in the Christmas Bureau program this year. Families like his, are signing up quickly so other families can, essentially, “adopt” him and his daughter.

“Being able to do the Christmas Bureau is going to help me get Christmas presents for my kids,” Topekan, Larissa Morgan said. “And it helps me out a lot.”

Each adoptee can get up to $40 in gifts. Thanks to the Christmas Bureau program, Larissa Morgan and her two children can receive gifts up to $120. But Volunteer Director, Kimberly Wolff says this year the Christmas Bureau isn’t doing so well. In 2015, 2,200 families signed up. As of November 4, 2016, they were only at about 900 families.

“We don’t really know why,” Wolff said. “I know that we moved intake up a week. We’ve went for 2 extra days. And we did change a location, but the location has been very successful with its numbers.”

Wolff said she’s not sure if it’s the warm weather or if the Christmas spirit is not in the air.

“My hope would be that people don’t need our services this year,” Wolff said. “Maybe that’s why the number is lower.”

If a certain number of adoptees don’t sign up, it won’t impact the program. Wolff said she’s expecting to get past 1,000 families and households to sign up by tomorrow. But she isn’t too sure if they’ll even get half of what they got last year. But for Morgan, the decline in 2016 has not affected her or what she’s trying to do for her children.

“Wasn’t planning on being a single mom of 2, but I wouldn’t change my life for anything. So I’m going to school to make their lives better.”

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