Holiday help has Austin in the holiday spirit - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Kerry Klatt

Holiday help has Austin in the holiday spirit

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AUSTIN, MN (FOX 47) -- The slowing economy is hitting some hard, and some families might need your help getting through the holidays.

The Salvation Army is seeing more and more people around Austin needing assistance.

In return, local stores and organizations are doing what they can to provide assistance for families in need.

The VFW is preparing Thanksgiving baskets for Veterans, which will be handed out Monday.

The Austin Hy-Vee asks its customers for donations of canned and frozen foods to help feed families.

Plus, it's a very busy time for the Salvation Army.

Lori says, "Unfortunately because this is a very time sensitive area that we had to shut our food shelf down temporarily just to make sure that we can get the baskets out on time."

Volunteers sort through items in order to prepare 379 Thanksgiving baskets. That's 105 more than they made last year.

Lori says, "The worry is making sure we get it done in time, and to make sure we have the right amounts, truthfully, because there are so many baskets and more than one item in a basket."

Workers separate items into eight categories, ranging from meat to dessert. Then families come and pick what they want.

Lori says, "As they go around they'll be told how many items they can pick from each category, and they'll be able to pack their own basket for Thanksgiving."

And don't forget the bell ringers.

The Salvation Army has seven sites and nine kettles throughout Austin, and they hope to raise $40,000 dollars this holiday season.

They are still looking for volunteers, especially for shifts on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This year, those have been hard to fill.

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