People in Need

Single parent families. Grandparents raising grandchildren. Mothers laid off. Fathers looking for work. No money. No food. Many are hungry. Thousands of Clark County residents are barely able to afford the bare necessities, let alone gifts for their children during the holidays. Can you help a needy family celebrate the spirit of the holiday season?

The Columbian’s late owner and publisher, Don Campbell, launched the People In Need Program in 1979. He felt The Columbian, with its broad readership and spirit of community outreach, should be a positive force in helping the less fortunate in Clark County. Today, third and fourth generation Campbell family owners believe in the same founding principles of the program. Donations to The Columbian’s People In Need Fund are distributed to the local non-profits serving the urgent needs of children and families throughout Clark County, including The Salvation Army’s Adopt A Family program during the holidays.

You can make a difference in our community several ways:

  1. Through December 9, by contacting The Salvation Army (call (360) 448-2880 or email or visiting this web page (
  2. Send your tax-deductible donation to:
    The Columbian People In Need Fund
    c/o The Community Foundation for Southwest Washington
    610 Esther Street, Suite 201
    Vancouver, WA, 98660
    Proceeds from your donation benefit at-risk children and families.
  3. Drop off your donation of toys for children or food for gift baskets for families at:
    Salvation Army
    11018 NE 14th Street
    Vancouver, WA 98684

All proceeds from your donation will benefit children and families in need throughout Clark County. You will receive a receipt from Community Foundation for your contribution.

This year’s families:

  1. With an 18-month boy to care for and another baby girl born late this year, two parents trying to live on limited income for a working Dad find Christmas presents out of reach. The boy, undergoing speech therapy, could use some help with a special gift or two. His sister would smile over some baby items as well. After difficult deliveries for both children, Mom still continues to care for her own brother with autism.
  2. A young couple with a 9-month-old boy just moved into an apartment, but struggle to provide basic needs. While the husband works, there is very little money for this family, and Christmas presents seem out of reach. “We have lots of debt,” Mom says, “making it hard to pay for bills on time. Basic needs at home are difficult.” This is a household hoping for some community help to bring the charm of Christmas into their lives.
  3. Dad works, but income is very limited, in this family with a mother who is deaf. This family struggles to take care of a grandson and two granddaughters, as well as their son. Both granddaughters are 1-year-olds and the grandson is 5. Their son is 10. Mom says she needs diapers, clothing, underwear, and more.
  4. A single parent, raising three grandchildren, is nearly blind and needs help providing some help for her little ones this Christmas. “I am not able to work, and raising my family faces some food shortages at times. I hope we can ask for some help this Christmas.” She is responsible for a 14-year-old as well as a little girl of 10 who hopes for arts and crafts items this year. Her 12-year-old brother asks for preteen games and a skateboard.
  5. Grandmother is taking care of two granddaughters by herself, but faces hardship due to her chronic disabilities, so some help from the community would be very much appreciated this Christmas season. “I just want the girls to have a nice Christmas,” she says. A little girl of asks for a toy beauty shop and some LOL Surprise toys. Her 8-month-old sister could use a stand-up walker and any Fisher Price Laugh and Learn toys.
  6. A single Mother struggles with family disorders and asks for help because her monthly budget is lean. She and two children are working with counselors to address behavioral issues and other disorders. Two 13-year-olds are seeking some Christmas help. A son asks for a football, board games and a skateboard. His sister hopes for makeup items, fingernail polish and some sketch books and pencils.
  7. While one adult in this home is working, income is not enough for the family to afford Christmas gifts this season. Mom asks for some help to provide a Christmas present or two for her 8-year-old son who likes remote control cars, a basketball, and perhaps Nerf gifts.
  8. A single Mom of three little children who face difficulty providing income for the family asks for some community assistance. She is not working and the adult member of the family providing income is no longer doing so. A 6-year-old girl likes Barbie dolls; a 3-year-old girl hopes for some dinosaur toys and a doll stroller; a 10-month-old boy could use some Fisher Price Little People toys and a soft baby blanket. The family also asks for some warm clothing, perhaps jackets and sweaters.
  9. A single mother of three no longer works and finds income very low for the Christmas gifts for three little girls. To help them this year, it would to provide gifts to two 7-year-old twins; one is who loves Barbie Dolls and Legos, and the other hoping for LOL Surprise toys and a soft blanket. An 8-year-old asks for Legos and a soccer ball.
  10. Income in the home of a single Mom with four children is low, although one adult in the home is working. “I just want the children to have a good Christmas,” she says. “We just don’t have enough money to see they are happy this year.” A 9-year-old boy asks for Beyblade and super hero toys; a 5-year-old boy likes remote control cars and superhero toys; a 3-year-old girl asks for Fisher Price Laugh and Lean toys and a baby doll; a 3-month-old could use a baby walker and teething items.
  11. The father of this household, with several children, is working through an agency in hopes of being hired soon. The mother is employed but faces low income as well. There is a 14- and 15-year-old in this household as well as four little children. Some community help would bring this family Christmas joy. “I find it embarrassing to ask for help, but I want the kids to have a good Christmas,” says Mom. To help, a 12-year-old girl likes light strips for her room and a skateboard; an 8-year-old girl asks for LOL Surprise toys and a soft blanket; a 6-year-old boy hopes for Ryan’s World toys and Nerf items; an 18-month-old girl could use a soft blanket and some Fisher Price Laugh and Learn puppy toy.
  12. Mom broke down and cried when the Salvation Army called her to complete her Christmas application, saying “This means so very much to us since we have no idea how to give our little ones the Christmas they deserve.” Mom doesn’t work since jobs she found would only pay her enough for child care for 2 small boys. Dad works but it has become a struggle for the couple to meet the costs of their bills this year. “This has been our hardest year yet,” she adds. To help out, a 6-year-old boy likes Lego and superhero toys, and his 2-year-old brother loves Cocomelon toys and perhaps a dinosaur item.
  13. A single Mother with two small boys is out of work and looking for housing for the family this season. Income for the family is extremely low, she adds. To help out, a 7-year-old boy likes Nerf toys and remote control cars. His 5-year-old brother asks for dinosaur toys and a remote control car.
  14. A single Mother faces a rough patch as she is out of work and must move in January, a task she says will take all of her limited income. “It is pretty hard right now,” she says. Her oldest of two sons, 8 years, is struggling with attention deficit problems, but some Legos and sketch books with pencils would help. His 4-year-old brother hopes for a toy walkie-talkie and some car and truck toys
  15. Mom is unable to work as she is staying home to care for a Mother who suffers from loss of memory, while caring for six small children. The family could use help from the community for Christmas this season. Toys would be helpful for three boys aged 12, 11 and 8 and three girls aged 13, 10 and 5.
  16. Mom faced difficult decisions in the past year and is now trying to catch up with finances for her two children, a 5-year-old girl who likes baby dolls and LOL Surprise toys and a 9-year-old boy favoring Nerf toys and remote-control cars. As a single Mother, she says she struggles to keep pace with bills.
  17. As a recently single Mom with two little boys. Mom says this has been a hard year for the children. Some help from the community would be greatly appreciated, she says. An 8-year-old likes Nerf and Legos toys, and his 6-year old brother favors the same gifts.
  18. As a single mother of a 10-year-old boy, Mom says she is “working hard to get back on my feet again,” but she needs some help to provide a good Christmas for a little one who likes remote control cars and an earbud or headphones.
  19. Mom and Dad work in this household with an 8-year-old boy and his 6-year-old sister, but medical problems delayed Dad from getting a full pay recently and Mother’s job is of lower income. Struggling with diabetes, both parents also face problems with cancer and heart problems. Some help from the community would give the little ones a good Christmas. Legos and board games are the wishes of the boy, and his sister asks for Barbie dolls and arts and crafts items.
  20. A sister, mother, and the single applicant in this household struggle to keep pace with bills with five children to care for. Income is limited in the home, and finding a way to give the three girls and two boys Christmas toys is a hardship. To help, a 10-year-old boy asks for earbuds and a skateboard; a 9-year-old girl hopes for a kick scooter and arts and crafts items; a 6-year-old girl likes LOL Surprise toys and Polly Pockets items; a 2-year-old girl could use a baby doll stroller and some dolls, and a 2-year-old boy favors Paw Patrol toys and Melissa and Doug items.
  21. A single Mom with three little ones who depend on her seeks some help this Christmas season. While working, she has concerns that the children will not enjoy many gifts this year due to her limited income. A 3-year-old boy likes Cocomelon toys and car and truck items. A 4-year-old girl asks for a baby doll and Paw Patrol toys. A 17-month-old niece living with her needs teething and sensory toys.
  22. Mom works but there is little extra income since Dad is not currently employed. She asks for a little community help to provide Christmas assistance for a 5-year-old boy favoring action figures and he could use clothing. His 13-year-old sister asks for a warm blanket and Legos.
  23. Dad says the family of three is financially strapped this year for Christmas and hopes for help getting his children some help. “We are so behind on bills that we have little hope of buying presents,” Mom adds. To provide assistance, a 10-year-old girl could use a volleyball and light strips for her bedroom; her 8-year-old sister prefers board games and Legos; and a 7-year-old boy hopes for superhero toys and Legos.
  24. “Adoption for our family would be so very special this year,” says Mom of this family with three children “We are short of funds this holiday.” Dad has a job but Mom stays home to care for a 13-year-old boy likes superhero toys and action figures; a 12-year-old boy favors Nerf toys and lights for his bedroom; an 8-year-old girl likes Nerf toys and a karaoke machine.
  25. “There is just no money for Christmas this year,” laments a single Mom of 3 girls, two which are 11-month-old twins. Soft baby blankets would help these two, as well as some sensory toys. A 10-year-old asks for a science kit and a volleyball.
  26. A single Mom of two preschool children experiencing low income this season asks for some assistance providing a Christmas for a 5-year-old boy who likes remote control cars and play tool sets and a 3-year-old girl asking for Melissa and Doug toys and a baby stroller.
  27. A single Mom of two works buts finds her income will not provide income for Christmas gifts this year. To help out, an 11-year-old girl asks for a warm blanket and some pre-teen board games. Her 9-year-old sister likes basketballs and Nerf toys.
  28. Mom is not working now and Dad’s job isn’t providing funds sufficient to purchase Christmas presents for the Holidays. Some assistance would be appreciated to help their two boys. An 11-year-old likes board games and a science kit. A 7-year-old brother asks Santa for Legos and arts and crafts items.
  29. It is a hard time for Mom and Dad. Her father, who lives with them, is likely on his last Christmas, she says and 3 of the 5 children in the household have other parents, but their families have fallen on hard times so these parents have welcomed them into the household. “With my father’s health problems and the need to raise 5 little children, we’ve had some problems financially,” she adds. Mom stays home to care for the under-10-year-old children. Their own twin girls at 9-years like slime kits and LOL Surprise toys. The “adopted” children include two more twins at 5-years who prefer some baby dolls for the Holidays and perhaps doll strollers. A 20-month-old may find sensory toys and Fisher Price Laugh and Learn puppy toys fun.
  30. A single woman seeking for her 9-year-old boy this Christmas says rent is so high she is having difficulty making ends meet. Once her rent is paid there’s nothing left for Christmas. Her youngster could use some holiday assistance for a remote-control car and a skateboard.
  31. A single woman who is homeless with her two small boys is currently at residence at public assisted housing and is struggling with disability. While a friend she is living with does have a job, she isn’t able to work. “We’re very stressed financially,” she says, “and we really need some help to provide Christmas presents for the children.” A 12-year-old boy hopes for a skateboard or board games. His 11-year-old brother likes remote control cars and asks for a football.
  32. Mom works but with the cost of childcare Dad does his duty caring for the couple’s five little ones. She is also helping her Mom through diabetes and cares for an uncle with health issues. To help this challenged family, an 11-year-old boy likes Nerf toys and a karaoke machine; a 9-year-old girl prefers LOL Surprise toys and a jewelry set; a 7-year-old girl asks for a Barbie Doll and slime kit; a 5-year-old girl likes Barbie Dolls and LOL Surprise toys, and a 2-year-old boy is into dinosaur toys and building blocks.
  33. A grandmother caring for her two grandchildren since her son’s death a year ago also faced the near-death of her husband recently, followed by her stroke soon after. The missed work days by her husband placed the couple in financial stress of late. To help out, a boy grandson of 13 hopes for some earbuds and he likes sketch books. His 10-year-old sister asks for fingernail polish and “something to decorate my room,” she says
  34. A single Mother stays at home tending to 5 children, although another adult at home continues to seek work but isn’t finding good jobs. “We have fallen on hard times this Christmas,” she relates. “Things are just not working out well for us right now.” To provide help, a 14-month-old girl likes stacking toys and Fisher Price Laugh and Learn toy Puppies; a 4-year-old boy asks for a Ryan’s World and Cocomelon toys; an 8-year-old boy hopes for a toy Pop-It toy and remote-control car; a 12-year-old girl likes room light strips and a volleyball, and a 13-year-old girl wishes for fingernail polish and perfume.
  35. A family with 6 children faces a hardship these days. Dad is working while Mom stays at home to care for their children, including a 3-year-old boy with epilepsy and other disorders. “He was hard to handle when we first learned of his problems, but we soon learned he is such a blessing,” says his Mother. The husband of this family is a basic laborer and jobs are not easy to find. To help out, a 12-year-old boy asks Santa for a sketch book and pencils; a 9-year-old boy prefers Legos and a toy walkie-talkie; a 7-year-old boy asks for a kenetic sand toy and a remote control car; a 6-year-old girl favors Barbie Dolls and a scooter; a 5-year-old girl asks for a toy kitchen set and arts and crafts items, and a 3-year-old boy like Melissa and Doug toys and Thomas the Train playthings.