Applications are being accepted for Christmas Cheer 2016, a Onslow Community Outreach program that helps needy children and their families in the community during the holiday season.

Families that qualify are provided with a box of food for the household and toys for each child.

“The applications (submitted) have been down this year. The good side of that is it usually indicates that the economy is a little stronger or some people just haven’t asked for the help,” Glenn Hargett said, volunteer director with Onslow Christmas Cheer.

Residents and those in need may submit their application at the Christmas Cheer Headquarters located at 1210 Hargett Street.

“Initially Christmas Cheer was formed in 1970s, although the exact date is unknown. Effective this year, we actually have a building dedicated, in part, (to operate Christmas Cheer from),” Hargett said.

Applications will be accepted from 1 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 21 and 22, the last day to submit an application. Program directors are asking applicants to bring a statement of income, identification, social security cards for the head of household and children and be prepared to give a statement about why assistance is needed.

It is also helpful to bring a power or phone bill.

“About 5,000 people were assisted last year; 1,500 of those were children. We obviously accept donations for toys — new unwrapped toys. We particularly find it hard to provide toys for boys ages 10 to 12, they’re one of the hardest age groups to satisfy,” Hargett said.

Teenagers are also tricky to provide gifts for, and Hargett is calling on residents to use their imagination when donating items for teens.

“It sounds crass but (monetary) funds are always accepted. Then we can buy items for specific needs. Last year about $20,000 was spent on food and that same number (was spent) on toys. It’s a particularly huge operation,” Hargett said.

Volunteers may sign up for shifts at volunteeronslow.org. Donations can be accepted during application turn-in hours.

For more information, call the Onslow Christmas Cheer office at 910-347-4646 or visit onslowco.org/cc.