A young boy's bicycle. Food on the table. Gifts for under the Christmas tree. Help finding a job. Even toilet paper for the bathroom.
Some requests that Tri-City churches hear from the community are small and easy to grant. And others are big and challenging. This year they are all snowballing as the holidays arrive.
Dee and Alan Barnett, who started Martha's Cupboard out of Richland's Central United Protestant Church in 2002, often are called on to serve small but important needs.
They say that this year the organization has provided cleaning supplies and toiletries, diapers and backpacks full of school supplies to about 1,600 families and students, the most ever. During Christmas, 150 families adopted by CUP will receive similar supplies, Dee Barnett said, again the most the church has helped for the holidays.
The families that receive aid range from refugees to domestic violence victims. Some have lost their jobs, can't find another or aren't working enough hours to make ends meet, she said.
"We are seeing a break in the system," she said. "There are people being caught in the middle."
And as the state cuts public assistance, Alan Barnett said he thinks churches will be taking up more of the slack.
The Tri-Cities still is better off than other regions, said Richard Meyer, president of the Kennewick stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Some of the increased need seems to be from people who moved here in the last year because they heard the region was insulated from the national economy, Meyer said.
As need has grown, the church's 18,100 Tri-City members have increased their giving, he said.
For example, the Tri-City congregations aim to provide 3,000 to 4,000 food boxes for the Salvation Army's Christmas program, up from 2,500 last year, Meyer said.
Those boxes will go home with families whose children receive gifts from the Angel Tree program.
Feeding the hungry is a common service for churches.
Bridget Benn, co-pastor at Kennewick Church of the Nazarene, said the demand for food aid has increased this year. In one day this week, the church of 200 received four requests.
The Kennewick and Pasco Nazarene churches also have started supporting Angel Food Ministries, a national program in which people can donate to subsidize the food cost for struggling low- and middle-income families.
Families order the food online and pick it up at the Kennewick church, Benn said, a service the church joined in November.
Pasco First Lutheran Church had planned to help 15 families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But Pastor John Hergert said the congregation's response was so generous, the number grew to 36.
The church connects with families through the Pasco School District's home visitor program, he said. Earlier this year, the church's 90-member congregation supplied more than 500 pairs of shoes through the school program.
The Christmas baskets will help families make it through the winter break from school, Hergert said, because during breaks, children don't get free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches.
Kennewick's St. Joseph Catholic Church has organized its giving tree for the 31st year. In addition to adopting families for Christmas and providing visits for shut-ins, the service raises gift cards that the church will use year-round to help the needy.
Caroline Patnode, St. Joseph office manager, said the church of 8,000 is down to the last few gift cards from last year.
The holiday is a hard time for families that barelyare putting food on the table, said John Lipp, lay pastor at West Side Church.
The Richland church of 600 gave 45 Thanksgiving meal baskets to families, most of them shut-ins, he said. And already it has 30 families who really need the help for Christmas baskets of food and gifts for children.
West Side Church also donates to the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission in Pasco four times a year, Lipp said. St. Joseph Catholic Church holds a food drive the second Sunday of each month for the Kennewick Food Bank, Patnode said.
Tri-City Mormon congregations also have the LDS Regional Services Complex in Kennewick, which provides employment help, counseling and a food bank free of charge, Meyer said.
It helps an average of 60 to 70 people a week find a job, he said.
And at Cathedral of Joy in Richland, members are helping support Grace Clinic by adopting patients at $7.50 per month, said Kendall Kaiser, director of connectional ministries. The Kennewick nonprofit clinic helps patients who can't afford care anywhere else.
In November, the congregation of 1,000 also adopted six families and gave those families bedroom makeovers, Kaiser said.
The church also has provided clothing to women and children at the Casita Del Rio rehabilitation program, and bicycles to those who have been released from prison and to children in the Tierra Vida neighborhood in east Pasco, Kaiser said.
Many churches end up helping people who never have participated in one of their worship services.
At Pasco First Lutheran Church, the help tends to be for people who don't attend the church. Hergert said helping the community is part of the congregation's mission.
"It really is true that is better to give than to receive, because in giving, you receive so much more," he said.