-- Editor's Note: This month the Herald is featuring a series of stories on the Holiday Wish Lists of Mid-Columbia nonprofits and how you can help.
The Salvation Army experienced something unexpected in mid-November -- it ran out of coats to provide to the needy in the community.
"We had to scramble," said Maj. Julio Vasquez. "The demand was extreme this year."
He said more people are struggling, and the cold weather also came sooner, catching some off guard.
The nonprofit has more jackets in stock now, but additional donations are needed.
New or gently used coats, scarves, gloves and winter hats for kids and older youth top The Salvation Army's holiday wish list. It could also use non-perishable food donations.
The Salvation Army provides a range of services to clients in Benton and Franklin counties, from food and clothing, to special seasonal help, to case work and connection with other resources.
It helps about 300 to 400 families a month, with the number rising even higher during Christmas.
"The numbers are going up. We have seen it with our food service, our clothing service. We have seen (new) families come to us that have never needed service," Vasquez told the Herald.
Even though Christmas is over, the need remains.
"There is always a need," Vasquez said. "Whatever we have, we give out."
Along with the food and clothing items, The Salvation Army also is looking for donations for a building project.
It has about 4.5 acres at 20th Avenue and Lewis Street in Pasco, where it plans to build a new community center to replace its existing offices in Pasco and Richland, centralizing services and cutting down on overhead. It needs to raise about $3 million more.
"We are here to serve families in need. We need (the community's) support, we need to always have that corps of people who will come and help us while we are helping others," Vasquez said.
For more information, call 547-2138. Its social service office is at 310 N. Fourth Ave., Pasco.
-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @saraTCHerald