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.
  36. This family has a single mother who has been having difficult time, as she’s been living with other family members, as she works towards an independent living situation. They have two boys, ages 7 and 10, and mom is hoping to be able to provide a few gifts for Christmas for them. The older boy would like a basketball for Christmas, as well as Bluetooth ear pods, while the younger boy enjoys playing with Thomas the Train toys, and loves graphic novels.
  37. As a single mother with 4 children, mom is doing her best to provide for them, despite a limited English proficiency. She’s currently out of work, and challenged to seek employment while caring for her four girls as well. The family has a 19-year-old girl who would like a Bluetooth speaker and any makeup or perfume, while the twin 13-year-old girls would like a bath/spa set, and LED strip lights. The 6-year-old girl would like a baby doll, any LOL Surprise toys.
  38. After an incredibly challenging period of homelessness over the past 15 months, this family of 4 children is finally moving into a new apartment. With a single mother with all girls, ages 12, 9, 7, and 4, there are numerous household necessities for which they would be grateful. The girls enjoy Polly Pockets, Squishmallow, and baby doll toys, and would like any kind of art and craft sets, as well as bath soaps, board games, and warm blankets.
  39. The family is struggling to create a Christmas environment for their two children, a boy aged 9, and a girl aged 6. The little girl would like Squishmallow toys, Polly Pockets, and any Lego sets for girls, while the boy is hoping for any kind of kick-scooter, a football, and Lego sets for boys to play with. They’re grateful for any assistance in what has been a very difficult period for them.
  40. Despite having their own financial hardships, this family took in their nephew who needed a home, stretching resources even more. While the children are rather quiet and shy, they work very hard at school, and it would be great to be able to give them a nice Christmas. They now have 12-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl at home, and the girl would love ear buds, any arts and crafts, and a jewelry set. The boy is hoping for headphones or ear buds as well, along with any kind of science kit, and a remote controlled car.
  41. Mom is a single mother, living in a precarious housing situation that often borders on homelessness, and the family has 4 children. They have one 13-year-old boy, and three girls, ages 11, 4, and 3. There aren’t financial resources to celebrate Christmas for the children at all, without the support and assistance of others. The younger girls are hoping for baby dolls and a stroller, as well as kitchen set. The older girl would like headphones, sketch books and pencils, and a bath/spa set, while the oldest would like a remote control car, headphones, and a Bluetooth speaker.
  42. This husband and wife have a household of six people, with four daughters, ages 13, 12, 8, and 4. This makes for a very full house, with tight finances and limited resources despite working multiple jobs. The 4-year-old girl loves CoComelon toys, any superhero toys, and a kitchen set, while the 8 year old is hoping for kinetic sand and Pop-It toys. The older girls are hoping for teen hair chalk, arts and crafts sets, make-up and perfume, and Mini-Brand toys.
  43. This family has been financially struggling through the past year, especially as rent prices have skyrocketed making dependable housing difficult. They have one 9-year-old son, and twin 13-year-old boys. The 9-year-old is hoping for any Lego sets for boys, arts and crafts sets or items, and any kind of remote-control car. The 13-year-old twins are looking for headphones, scooters, and LED light strips for their room. Any assistance is very much appreciated during such a difficult year for this family!
  44. This mother and father have 3 children, an 11-year-old girl, and 8-year-old boy, and a 4-year-old girl, and they’re hoping for some help in providing a Christmas experience to their children this year, in the face of financial difficulties. The youngest girl would like a play kitchen set, and a baby doll with a stroller. The boy enjoy athletic activities, and is hoping for a kick scooter and a soccer ball, while the oldest girl would like a Bluetooth speaker, any arts and crafts supplies, and make-up or perfume.
  45. Challenged with housing and food insecurities, this husband and wife have 2 children, 11 and 9-year old boys. The 11-year-old boy is hoping for Lego toys, Squishmallow toys, and walkie-talkies. The younger boy would like a kick scooter, Squishmallow toys, and LED light strips. Any household supplies like soap and detergent would be very much appreciated as well!
  46. This single mother has found the year very difficult, in juggling jobs with maintaining housing, while caring for her 2 girls. The girls are three and five years old, and hoping for any help that will allow them more of a Christmas experience. The 3-year-old girl would like a Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Puppy, and pre-school age board games, and a baby doll stroller. Her older sister likes CoComelon toys, as well as kinetic sand, and Calico Critters.
  47. There are 3 daughters in this household, ages 14, 3, and 1, with a single mother who is doing her best to provide for them despite financial challenges this Christmas. The older girl is hoping for make-up or perfume kits and LED light strips, while the 3-year-old would like building blocks, Mega Blocks, and Ryan’s World toys. For the one-year-old girl, her mother would like her to have any Fisher Price Laugh and Learn toys, Melissa and Doug toys, and any sensory toys appropriate to a 1-year-old.
  48. With a single mother and 2 little girls, this family would be grateful for any support or assistance this holiday season! The two girls are 2 years old, and 2 months old, so any baby supplies are much appreciated as well. The toddler would like to play with kitchen and tool sets, and any age-appropriate arts and crafts materials, while the youngest needs teething toys, Activity Sit-To-Stand Walker, and any Fisher Price learning toys.
  49. This single mother has 4 children and has struggled to maintain housing consistently over the past year. With two boys, ages 3 and 16 months, and two girls, ages 10 and 4, there are many needs, and the hope of experiencing Christmas with assistance. The oldest girl would like any kind of jewelry kit, a Bluetooth speaker, and fingernail polish, with the 4-year-old girl is hoping for a baby doll and stroller, and any Polly Pockets toys. The 3-year-old boy enjoys playing with any car or truck toys, as well as Thomas the Train, while his mother is hoping for an Activity Sit-To-Stand Walker, any building blocks, and Fisher Price Little People toys for her youngest son.
  50. This mother and father have 3 girls. A 6-year-old who enjoys drawing so is asking for sketchbooks, pencils, and markers. A 5-year-old who is hoping for Barbies and a soft blanket. A 2-year-old who could use some building blocks or a play kitchen set. This year has been difficult for them, as they have been challenged with housing insecurities this past year. Any help from the community would be appreciated this holiday season.
  51. A single Mom of two small girls just transitioned from homelessness into a shelter and isn’t even able to find work or furniture for their small dwelling. Assistance would be helpful for a 6-year-old who asks for Legos and Barbie Dolls and her 18-month-old sister needing building blocks and some dinosaur toys.
  52. Grandmother is alone except for her 8-year-old granddaughter who “is growing so fast I can’t keep up with her clothing,” says her grandparent. On disability and with money demands severe, she says it would be a good year for some help during Christmas. The little girl hopes for arts and crafts items and perhaps a toy jewelry set.
  53. A single Mom can’t work due to the need to stay home to assist an autism boy, so it is a hard year for her to come up with Christmas presents for the family of five. She also cares for her 6-year-old niece whose parent is trying to find a home. To provide some help, a 6-year-old boy likes Legos and Nerf toys; another 6-year-old (her niece) asks for Barbie toys and LOL Surprise items; a 4-year-old boy hopes for CoComelon toys and dinosaur items; a 4-year-old boy prefers action figures and cars and trucks toys, and a 2-year-old boy is interested in a toy tool set and Thomas the Train items.
  54. Diagnosed recently with MS, a single mother says the illness left her unable to work as she cares for 4 children. “I love working and am very distressed that I can’t do so as Christmas comes,” she says. To provide some assistance, the community may want to provide Nerf toys and Legos to two twin boy of 12 years. Some CoComelon toys and dinosaur items would please a 2-year-old boy, and perhaps some teething toys and a walker for a 7-month-old girl.
  55. Separated recently, a domestic violence survivor Mom seeks help for her two children this Christmas as her job does not provide enough to cover bills and pay for any presents. To provide assistance, a 9-year-old boy hopes Santa will bring Nerf toys and a remote control car. His 5-year-old sister asks for a baby doll and Polly Pockets toys.
  56. Mom and her 10-year-old daughter live with Mom’s sister as they cannot afford to pay rent at this time. While Mom works, her income is very low and Christmas presents appear to be unaffordable this year. To bring some cheer to the family, a karaoke machine and some fingernail polish will bring a smile to the little one.
  57. Mom is 3-months pregnant in a family where Dad struggles to find work but has not yet landed that big job. Two little boys await Christmas, but the family is hard pressed to find the money for presents. To help, a 6-year-old boy asks Santa to bring Legos and board games, while his 4-year-old brother hopes for some Dinosaur toys and a scooter for his age group.
  58. Mom works but providing Christmas as a single parent of three children is a hardship. “There isn’t enough income to do what I hope for this Christmas,” she notes. As a community providing help, a 9-year-old girl asks for Barbie Dolls and some earbuds. A 6-year-old boy hopes for Ryan’s World toys and Legos. For their 3-year-old brother, Legos and Nerf toys would bring Christmas smiles.
  59. While this family is fortunate to have a Dad making what Mom says covers the bills, the family is currently staying at temporary lodging as a result of eviction during the pandemic, but the funds are short of providing the Christmas expenses for their three children. Struggling with costs of hiring legal help in their claim they were illegally evicted, both parents – who face mental illness problems – say help is needed this year for their children, an 11-year-old boy favoring a skateboard and Legos as gifts; a 9-year-old sister asking for a slime kit and earbuds, and a 7-year-old boy who asks for earbuds and a slime kit.
  60. Dad works in this household with two small children, but Mom – who suffers from a heart condition – remains at home. Funds are short in this home where a 9-year-old boy asks for Santa to bring Legos and Nerf toys, and his 5-year-old sister hopes for LOL Surprise toys and Shopkins gifts.
  61. Dad works but income is too limited this Christmas to provide gifts for two boys, Mom says. Some community help would provide assistance to a 9-year-old boy favoring Legos and Nerf toys and his 5-year-old brother asking for dinosaur toys and Legos.
  62. A single Mother of a 6-year-old girl works but is given only 24 hours of job time per week, making it hard for here to provide Christmas presents this year. “It is so difficult to know I may not be able to show her that Santa cares,” she says. Board games and Girl Legos are on the little one’s wish list this holiday.
  63. Two small boys live with Mom who cannot work due to illness, resulting in a limited income for the single parent. Assistance would be appreciated for a boy of 6 who likes Ryan’s World items and LOL Surprise toys, and his brother of 2 who would like CoComelon toys and stacking blocks.
  64. In October, she lost her husband and is trying to raise 3 small boys with no income coming into the family. “We don’t know where to turn,” Mom says among tears. For a community effort, much is needed in this household. Two twins at 11-years-old would like arts and crafts items and remote control cars. An 8-year-old brother wishes for a skateboard and remote control car.
  65. Mom is single and trying to provide for 2 small children. “I am just starting a new job and have great hopes for it,” she says, “but we’re facing shortages in income at this time. A little help for Christmas would be so great!” Help is needed for a 12-year-old boy asking for a football and earbuds, and his 7-year-old sister is asking Santa for some sketch books and pencils and Barbie Doll toys.