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Holiday Gifts needed for the disabled

Utah Association for intellectual Disabilities holiday gift box: more than 500 individuals with intellectual disabilities still have not been adopted, applications up over 30 percent over this time last year. Deadlines have been extended and help is needed. UAID has more than 500 unsponsored ornaments still on their wall, waiting to be adopted and 37 individuals on their waiting list, but the agency still is encouraging people to apply if they need help and to donate if they can help. The agency will work right up to Christmas if that is what is needed.

Most of UAID's clients are adults between 25 and 92, with intellectual ages between 8 months and 15 years. Many of these individuals see the holidays through the eyes of their intellectual age, not their birth age and that makes the sadness of no gifts even more unacceptable.

Matt Knotts, executive board members stated, "Applications from all over the state are still coming in every single day. UAID has already surpassed last years total of 727 individuals and we have a little more than three weeks to go. As these are mostly adults with intellectual disabilities, the resources for holiday help is very limited for them. A lot of people want to help kids, but not as many want to help the adults. Rural applications seem to be what is bringing the largest increase. Vernal area, Logan and the reservation in the southeast corner of the state had about a 150 perent increase over last year. More individuals still living in their homes and not getting services from the state make up a large increase. These are UAID's target populations for increased services," Knotts said.

"In the past couple of days, applications were received from as far as Monument Valley in the south clear to Tremonton in the north." Kristen O'Shea, UAID staff says, "If you are a low income individual with intellectual disabilities and need help, please go ahead and call us. We will have something for everyone. As in the past, we will not let anyone go without. We are confident many more families will come in and adopt or send funds for our shoppers to buy gifts with."

New applications now are going on UAID's waiting list, and the people are being told they have not yet been accepted, but we will do everything we can to make the holidays happen for them.

O'Shea said "UAID is especially targeting individuals who are living in their homes and under-served populations who may not have heard about the program."

How can you help?

1. You can come to the office at 1453 S. Major Street (between State and Main in Salt Lake City) and pick out an ornament, go shop and bring back the gifts.

2. Mail checks or money orders to P. O Box 25304, SLC, Ut 84125.

3. Go to the website www.uaidutah.org to donate by credit card.

4. Go shop for items from the wishlist and drop them off at the office. (Discounts and being tax exempt makes a $25 cash donation have $35 in buying power).

5. Eagle Scouts and church groups are encouraged to gather items in their neighborhoods.

Call 801-870-7011 for more information or to adopt after office hours. Volunteers are needed throughout the season. Call Volunteer Coordinator, Lucy Tucker, at 801-654-8449.




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