Hard Holiday - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Hard Holiday

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WSVN -- The Ortiz family is feeling the pinch this holiday season. Dad Charles was laid off six months ago.

Charles Ortiz: "Right now, it's very tough for my family and for myself too."

With bills piling up, they've cut back to essentials. That means no extras like internet, no cable TV and Christmas for the kids is a question mark.

Charles Ortiz: "They know I'm not working. They know that Daddy doesn't have the money that I used to have and they have to accept that situation."

But the Ortiz family is getting help through Amigos for Kids, one of many non-profit groups in South Florida that helps feed families and for Christmas gives out toys.

Maria Rosa Plasencia: "If the child has Medicaid, the family has an unemployment check coming in, food stamps, we already know that there is some indicator that the family is in need."

There are many other places families can get help, to find them start by dialing 211.

Switchboard of Miami counselors assess needs and put parents in touch with organizations that can help.

Parents can also sign up with the many local churches having food and toy drives. The Toys for Tots website gives locations for their annual holiday toy distribution.

Gunnery Sergeant Louis Slagle: "We tell the families to go to our website to look up these local organizations that are requesting our help and find one in their local community that they can register with."

The holiday season is their specialty.

Gunnery Sergeant Louis Slagle: "The goal of the Marine Corps is to even with one toy is to bring a ray of hope to that child."

Whether it's for toys, food or other needs, parents should never be afraid to ask for a helping hand.

Maria Rosa Plasencia: "That's why we're a community. That's why we're here to help."

And for the Ortiz family and others like them, that help will be making all the difference this holiday season.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Dr. Valerie Goodehttp://www.drvaleriegoode.com

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