It’s a busy time of year for H.O.P.E., Inc.

The non-profit agency that helps people in need by supplying them with clothing, food and medical treatment, is gearing up to help local families have a merry holiday season.

“There is always a need,” said executive director Jill Scott. “But of course there are more (needs) during the holidays.”

Every year H.O.P.E. puts together about 150 baskets filled with everything a family needs for Christmas dinner. The Empire-Tribune is joining the effort by hosting a canned food drive.

Residents are asked to drop off stuffing mix, green beans, corn, instant mashed potatoes and other food items to the E-T’s office located at 702 E. South Loop by Thursday, Dec. 12.

“The holiday season means a lot to our staff and we wanted to do something to make a difference in the lives of other local families,” said E-T general manager Melissa Horton. “We hope residents will get behind our effort and help us create a record number of Christmas dinner baskets.”

Scott said the baskets will be ready for families to pick up on Dec. 20.

DAUNTING STATISTICS

According to H.O.P.E., one in six Erath County residents are living without enough food and more than one in four children are at risk of hunger.

“We serve about 200 to 250 local families per month,” Scott said.

And while food staples like macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, canned tuna and cereal are always a necessity, cold-weather clothing is also a need this time of year.

“We could really use winter coats,” Scott said.

ANGEL TREE SIGNUPS

H.O.P.E. is now taking signups for angels to be featured on the agency’s Angel Tree.

Angels must be in the sixth grade or younger, and families who want to apply must show proof of residency and income. The deadline to apply is Nov. 20.