Christmas Help for Low Income Families

The Christmas season is not meant to be stressful – the lead up to, during and after should be a great time full of wonderful new memories and experiences.  Don’t let money problems and debt become a part of the experience. If you are a low income earner and find it difficult to provide all the things expected around the holidays, you are not alone. Thousands of families struggle through the holiday season because of the extra demands that are put on the budget.

However, if you plan right, use every resource mentioned below, you can be able to put on a great Christmas dinner and provide gifts for your children without going into debt and putting pressure on the family budget.

Everyday Help

Food is one the largest expenditures in the family budget. It’s also an area where low income earners can get assistance, which can mean significant savings on the family budget while keeping food on the table. Imagine if you could shave $50-$100 off your grocery bill every month and reroute that money into other savings. This is money that can then be used for unexpected emergencies and other events such as birthdays and holidays like Christmas.

There are numerous programs available for low income families which include nationally available food banks, grocery programs and lunch provisions for children at school. Find out where your local Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is in order to start receiving food on a regular basis from a nearby food bank. The National School Lunch Program provides either free or significantly reduced meals for low income family children - there many programs for infants and pregnant mothers as well.

Similar to food banks there are clothing banks set up in almost every major urban area to help low income families deal with the cost of clothing their children. Coats for Kids and clothing banks can significantly reduce your cost on clothing. Visiting second hand stores for adult clothing can also reduce your costs.

LIHEAP, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, helps low income families keep the lights on and the heat flowing during cold months. Receiving subsidy for heating can take a considerable amount of pressure off your cold weather budgets, allowing your family to enjoy Christmas like you should be able to. Many utility companies also provide assistance programs to certain low income groups, check your utility company for details.

If you search for help for all your basic needs, including food, clothing, rent and utilities, there are often multiple programs that can help reduce your monthly burden, freeing up some budget for extras.

Help for Christmas
However, if you are looking for specific help just for the holidays, there are still plenty of options to ensure you get gifts and food to make your Christmas enjoyable and comfortable. Don’t be put off by the word charity as they are great organizations which are nothing like what you probably think.

Local Charities
Many charities operate throughout the US, especially during the holiday season to provide different programs to help out those in need. From the Salvation Army to Toys for Tots run by the Marine Corps there are literally 1000s of organizations dedicated to programs to help out for Christmas. Look for organizations like the St. Vincent de Paul, Make a Wish Foundation, Family Christmas Online, Lions Club, National Holiday Project, Military Families Trees for Troops and the Family Giving Tree are all options - Learn more on their services.

Local Churches
Even if you are not part of a local congregation, many churches offer assistance during Christmas as part of their community outreach programs and there is no requirement to be a member of the church. Simply call your local churches to see which ones are offering a Christmas program and if you could be added to their list.

Local Businesses
Pay attention to the news in your neighborhood. Many local businesses support needy families during the holiday season with toy drives, food baskets and many other programs. In most cities, there is usually a Turkey giveaway to help low income families put on a Christmas dinner.

Christmas help for low income families isn’t subject to just the holiday season, there is general financial help for individuals and families that need it throughout the year. Financial problems can popup at any time, don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed in asking for help – the sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to fix the problem and reduce the stress that comes with money issues.

Take advantage of government benefits and non-profit assistance to greatly reduce your monthly outgoings, which will provide more cash flow. Try working with a free financial counselor as they can make sure you are taking advantage of all benefits you may be entitled too. Professional guidance on money can also help with learning how to make the most of your money and not live with the stress that comes from living paycheck to paycheck. Simple budgeting and money management tips can help you get ahead regardless of how much money you currently have or make.