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Jackson House needs your help

Many of you know of Jackson House, a crisis center for emergency services located in downtown Hot Springs.

This, our 40th year, has been quite a busy year, indeed. Jackson House, formerly known as Community Crisis Intervention Services Inc., provides numerous services, including, but not limited to, a Noon Lunch Program, feeding on average 150 people daily (over 50,000 so far this year), a food pantry, serving nearly a million pounds annually to 12,000 unduplicated individuals, and clothing is given to those in need of all ages for various reasons, with many more services based on resources and individual needs.

Jackson House has over 10,000 current charts representing over 25,000 people who have received our services a minimum of once in the last three years. That is a quarter of all the residents of Hot Springs! Hot Springs consists of a large number of retirees who have limited incomes, a large population of disabled individuals and working families with the majority of our industry being seasonal and tourism related and a large transient population.

A recent statistic shows that one needs to earn $14 an hour to afford rent in Arkansas. Another shows that every 47 minutes a child is born into poverty. The average wage here is $9 per hour. In Garland County, 33 percent of children live in poverty according to the Arkansas Community Foundation Report, "Aspire."

Sobering statistics, to say the least.

We need your help. We have the holidays -- that means children will be out of school and needing food to eat. At least two weeks of out-of-school days are coming. People need to eat every day, as you know. With the numbers we are seeing, we require help to provide the nutritional food to those in need of all ages. We can parlay a dollar into up to 10 items of food, not just one. All donations of moneys or food are important to the recipient. Please know that Jackson House vets every request for assistance, keeps records and works closely with other agencies.

We need toys for children for Christmas. We expect up to 750 children asking for toys this year. We do not have money set aside for this need this year. We spent our money on food. Donations of food have been down, so we had to buy more. We don't want children not having toys and warm items.

We need small throws, like the $3 kind at local discount stores, gloves, hats, scarves ($1 each at local stores), various age toys, toiletry items, stuffed animals, etc. We like to give each child an age-appropriate toy, small amount of candy, age-appropriate book, something comforting, such as a stuffed animal, something warm and toiletry items. This meets several needs all at once.

All donations are tax deductible. Please help us help those in need this year. We will all feel better knowing that we did our best to share our blessings. Please give from your heart.

Feel free to call with any questions. Thank you for taking the time to help.

Janie Smith is executive director of the Eleanor Klugh Jackson House for Crisis Intervention.

Editorial on 12/07/2017

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