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. A single mother who is raising her four children, of which two of them have special needs – one with a spinal disorder and another with autism. Some super-hero gifts would be the favorite of an 8-year-old boy, and his 13-year-old sister hopes for some My Little Pony items. Two other children, a 14-year-old boy, and 13-year-old sister, also live at home. Mom isn’t working due to her need to care for the children and she finds it hard to get by on a very limited income.
  2. Mom and Dad live on a variable income, which often falls short of their financial necessities. Christmas gift ideas for the four children are: a 12-year-old boy asking for Lego sets; three sisters: an 8-year-old who hopes for a scooter, a 5-year-old who likes jewelry sets, and a 2-year-old who would play with building block sets.
  3. Dad works in this family but his bring- home income is too limited to purchase Christmas items for two little girls and a boy. An 8-year-old girl asks for Barbie dolls; her sister, aged 5, would like arts and crafts gifts, and their 13-month-old brother likes “anything that makes noise,” Mom says.
  4. Mom asks for some personal items such as toilet paper, laundry soap and trash bags in her home, where she raises three children, two with autism. Finding it is difficult to raise her family with limited income, she asks for Bubble Guppies toys for an 11-year-old boy, Barbie items for an 8-year-old girl and Barbie Chelsie for a 7-year-old girl.
  5. The Dad and Mom in this household have a little girl and 3 boys, and are facing new challenges as their rent was raised recently. Income was already limited, causing difficulty making ends meet. The 12-year-old girl likes jewelry, art items and clothing. A 9-year-old boy asks for sports items; a 5-year-old boy hopes for art items. Their 2-year-old brother “will be happy with anything,” Mom says. Dad also could use some rain gear for his outside job.
  6. Mom and the adult male in this home struggle financially with his limited income to raise 2 small children. A 2-year-old girl could use learning toys or Barbies, and her 11-month-old brother would make good use of a stand-up child walker. A 16-year- old boy also lives with this family.
  7. Dad just finished his truck-driving training, and is hopefully starting a new job soon, after losing his job during COVID. To help out this low-income family, an 8-year- old boy really wants a bike, but “will be happy with anything” says Mom. Another boy, 4-years-old, also hopes for a bike “if his brother gets one” but also favors Legos and science items. A 15-year-old girl also lives with this family.
  8. Mom and Dad both work, but their income is small due to Covid restricting their work hours, making it difficult to buy Christmas presents this year for two girls. One girl aged 8-years-old, asks for art items, and her 12-year-old sister likes makeup and nail polish.
  9. It is hard to get by on this household income when it comes to raising 3 children, although the Dad works. To help provide some Christmas cheer, a 12-year- old boy likes action figures or Legos; his 10-year-old brother hopes for a scooter, and their 7-year-old sister is a My Little Pony fan.
  10. A single Dad with 3 children, including two small girls, was laid off from work in March, noting that the past year “has been a long road” toward raising the family. To provide a little help, an 11-year-old boy asks for games and karaoke devices. Her 7-year-old sister My Little Pony coloring books and perhaps art books for a second grader. A 19-year-old son lives this family.
  11. Mom works in a financially stressed home, but a 9-year-old boy is intellectually disabled and needs special care. He could use a new set of headphones and a warm snuggie blanket, Mom says, or “anything warm and fuzzy to wear.” His 5-year-old sister hopes for art supplies and makeup items.
  12. Dad isn’t working his part-time job as he waits for surgery, and Mom says they have a very limited income, too small to buy Christmas presents for a little girl and boy. A 7-year-old girl hopes for Barbie dolls or Legos this year, and her 8-year-old brother is a Lego set fan.
  13. A single Mom with two children hopes for a Nerf toy for her 12-year-old son, or perhaps a hand-held game. Just coming off surgery, she is unable to work at this time. There is also a 14-year-old boy living with her.
  14. As Mom looks for a job in this single- parent home, she is living on restricted income with no way to pay for Christmas presents this year. To provide a helping hand, an 11-year-old girl asks for art items, Legos and “stuff for his room, like lighting,” she notes. His 8-year-old brother likes art items as well, and any “boy stuff” she adds. A 14-year-old boy also lives at this residence.
  15. A single mother of 2 says her father helps out, and she works, but it would be good for some extra assistance this Christmas to help out with limited income. For her 9-year-old son, she hopes for some Lego sets and “perhaps some clothing.” She is also raising a 17-year-old daughter at the home.
  16. After losing both grandparents to Covid a Mom of a 12-year-old girl says she is having a rough time. Dad is disabled and cannot work, and Mom has a low-paying job so providing Christmas gifts for their daughter is difficult. To help, their daughter says wants an alarm clock, so she can help more. Mom is proud of her. Some headphones are also on the girl’s wish list.
  17. Mom is working, and Dad stays at home to care for their four children. “God has blessed us and protected us,” she declares. But with limited income, gifts for the children are out of reach. A 12-year-old boy likes hand-held games, a 9-year-old brother asks for remote control cars, and a 4-year-old hopes for musical toys. There is also a 16-month-old little sister who can use a baby doll. All children need clothing and shoes.
  18. Dad is working in construction jobs, although Mom is out of a job right now. Two little girls could use some assistance this Christmas as they struggle to pay bills, she says. A three-year-old loves Barbie dolls, and her 14-month-old sister needs a baby doll.
  19. Mom and Dad not only are caring for their own four children but have just shared their home with two foster children. But since Father’s job isn’t going to provide Christmas gifts to all, some help is appreciated. An 8-year-old boy and his 5-year-old brother like Lego sets, a 4-year-old girl asks for My Little Pony gifts, and her 3-year-old sister is a Barbie fan. Gifts for the foster children, who arrived in the home during November, include a 7-year-old girl, who is diabetic, and hopes for baby dolls. A 6-year-old boy asks for magnetic toys.
  20. Mom stays at home to care for three children under the age of 10, while Dad works to help support this family, but paying bills takes all they have. Some community help will be appreciated for the three girls, including a 7-year-old who likes walkie-talkie toys, a 4-year-old hoping for My Little Pony items, and an 8-month-old who could use some building blocks.
  21. Mom and Dad tested positive for Covid and have not been able to get back to work yet, although recent testing came back showing they were free from the disease. It was a situation which struck even their three little children in 2021. “We’re getting better but we only have child support income at this time,” says Mom. To aid this family, a 9-year-old boy likes scooters, a 7-year-old girl favors arts and crafts items, and their 3-year-old brother hopes for a remote-control car.
  22. Both parents were struck by Covid, but are just getting back to work, despite Dad having been laid off. He just recently landed another job. “The pandemic really hurt,” says Mom. “We have not recovered financially, and we’re not covering all of our bills.” To provide a helping hand this Christmas, a 12-year-old girl asks for hand-held games, and her 3-year-old brother hopes for a remote control vehicle.
  23. A grandmother living on her Social Security income and living in a recovery housing shelter with her four grandchildren, says her wish is for a month’s rent! “Things are difficult,” she says, and hopes for Christmas presents for a 19-month-old girl who likes Cocomelon toys, a 12-year-old girl favoring unicorns, an 11-year-old boy who hopes for Legos, and a 6-month-old boy needing newborn items.
  24. Living with her father and grandmother, a single woman with three children is not working as she studies at a local college. A male friend who is living with the family provides income from his job, but not enough to buy Christmas presents for the children, an 8-year-old boy who asks for science experiment kit; a 4-year-old boy who favors Yoda toys, and a 2-year-old girl who could use coloring books.
  25. A single mother with a part-time job says she is “struggling getting along, but not sure we can buy a tree or gifts this year.” To help out, a 4-year-old boy asks for building blocks, and his 17-month-old sister can make good use of learning toys.
  26. A single Mom is not working as she cares for an 8-year-old boy. He was born with immune system problems from birth, making him susceptible to various disorders. She asks for a karaoke machine for this youngster. She is also Mom of a 10-year-old boy asking for a watch, and his 6-year-old brother who would like headphones. “They would all be happy with any gifts at all,” says Mom.
  27. A single parent, who just got a job, says some Christmas assistance would help for her four children. A 10-year-old boy hopes for some arts and crafts sets; a 7-year-old boy and his 5-year-old brother ask for Nerf items, and a 9-month-old girl would find building blocks a fun toy.
  28. Mom is working part-time as Dad is on full-time, but money is tight in this household when it comes to buying Christmas gifts. To lend a helping hand this season, an 8-year-old girl asks for Barbie accessories, and her 5-year-old brother is into Lego sets.
  29. Mom and Dad are finding this year to be a struggle for providing Christmas presents this year and ask that a little community help be provided. Two daughters aged 12 and 13 hope for some Lego sets this year. Any assistance would help the family provide a good season for their little ones.
  30. Mom isn’t working in this single-parent home with a 10-year-old girl asking for a karaoke machine for this Christmas. “Things are just very tight and I hope we can find a way for my little girl to open presents,” says Mom. The girl also likes scooters and remote control cars to play with.
  31. A Mom and Dad with two small children depend on his limited income for a living and does not have the money to give their children Christmas presents this year. Food and toys are badly needed by this family with a 5-year-old girl who likes DIY jewelry toys, and a 2-year-old brother who could use building blocks.
  32. At this time, a single mother is not working, due to foot surgery, remains in therapy and hopes for some community help to provide Christmas presents for her family. To provide assistance, a 6-year-old girl likes Barbie dolls; her 9-year-old brother likes Nerf toys, and a 2-year-old boy loves musical toys. A 15-year-old girl and 13-year-old son in this home reside in this home as well.
  33. Dad works as Mom remains home with two girls to care for, but income is limited and there is little extra to pay for Christmas presents for this 6-year-old who likes Barbie dolls, and a 2-month-old Mom says could use building blocks.
  34. A single Mother of two little girls is substantially limited on her income as she works a part-time job. For some help from the community, a set of Legos for a 10-year-old and perhaps building blocks for her 3-year-old sister would be greatly appreciated, says Mom.
  35. “I’m working but Dad stays at home to care for the children,” says a Mom. “We were affected by Covid this year and lost our jobs, and we’re hanging on under a stressful situation right now.” Help would be great, she adds, in the form of Lego sets for an 11-year-old boy. His 4-year-old sister hopes for some My Little Pony gifts.
  36. This single mother looking for a new job lives with greatly reduced income for her family of three little children. It would be helpful if the community could offer gifts of sports equipment for an 11-year-old girl, Lego sets for a 7-year-old boy and a play kitchen set for a 3-year-old girl.
  37. “I am working and have enough income to make car payments and just extra to make ends meet,” says a single mother of a 2-year-old girl. “We barely make it each month,” she adds. To provide help, the little girl would find a play kitchen set under her tree bringing her Christmas joy.
  38. Dad is out of a job as he overcomes bone reconstruction surgery that keeps him from his construction work, while Mom brings home this household’s main income. “Just living on one income means there is no savings for Christmas presents,” says Mother. It would be helpful if someone could provide a 6-year-old boy with a toy guitar or a Hot Wheels Cargo Garage. A 9-year-old boy likes to play with Lego sets.
  39. A single Mom living in a community-subsidized home with four children lists her income as “zero.” Without special assistance from the community, she feels her children will not receive gifts for Christmas. A 9-year-old boy hopes for sports items; his 3-year-old brother asks for car and truck toys. Thirteen- and 14-year-olds live with Mom in this residence.
  40. “I am unemployed and living alone with my 9-year-old son this year and we need some help,” says a Mom who just wants some gifts for her little one. She says he “isn’t picky about what he gets, but loves games and puzzles,” she notes.
  41. Living with her mother to help make ends meet, a single Mom who cares for four children works only part-time because she needs to care for the little ones. Including three nieces as well as her son. To provide some Christmas help for this large family, her 3-year-old girl likes learning toys. Among her three nieces, a 7-year-old likes karaoke units, and the other two – aged 3 and 4, prefer remote control cars.
  42. “I just want some Christmas presents for my children this year,” says a single working Mom with 4- and 5-year-old daughters. “There isn’t enough to buy presents,” she adds. The younger daughter hopes for a board game or two, and her older sister prefers arts and crafts items.
  43. Dad works in this household but bringing home enough to purchase Christmas presents just isn’t possible, says Mom, noting she “just needs help for this Christmas.” That can come in the form of a Lego set for a 7-year-old boy, and a Barbie doll for his 4-year-old sister.
  44. After just moving to Washington and living with friends for help, a single Mother finds life pressing as she seeks a new job. Some diapers and baby items would help for a 7-month-old girl, and two sisters aged 4- and 6-years-old ask for Minnie Mouse toys and Frozen playthings.
  45. Recently relocating in Vancouver, a Mom and Dad are seeking work as they get established with their three little boys. A 3- and an 8-year-old like Legos and action figures, and their 15-month-old brother would use “anything age appropriate,” says Mom.
  46. Mom works though she faces challenges as an epileptic, raising an 11-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother in this single parent household. Her daughter likes to play with arts and crafts items, and the son asks for sports items or science kits.
  47. Without a job, a single Mom with very small children hopes for some community assistance to bring Christmas presents for two little ones. A 19-month-old boy “likes anything,” says Mom. “He is a most cheerful little guy,” but he does like music. A month-old boy could make good use of rattles “or anything for a newborn,” she adds.
  48. Living with her Mother, a single woman forced out of work due to Covid struggles to find a way for her children to enjoy Christmas presents. An older son lives with them as well as a 4-year-old daughter who loves mermaid toys, and her 15-year-old asking for gift cards.
  49. Experiencing life as a multiple sclerosis patient, Mom works but finds it difficult to do so with a 7-year-old girl who suffers from a brain tumor. What the little one really needs this Christmas is an electronic tablet to work on lessons at home. Some Barbie dolls and arts and crafts games would also make pleasant gifts for her.
  50. Dad stays at home to watch the children as Mom works in a home finding it too costly to hire childcare. “I don’t make much working, and the idea of buying presents for the boys is pretty hard to consider,” she says. “Everyone in our family needs warm clothing for the winter,” adds Mom. “We definitely need shoes, too.” As for toys, an 11-year-old likes scooters or nerf toys, and his 4-year-old brother likes super hero toys, and some building blocks. He is also “very into dinosaur toys,” says Mom.