The two-day registration, which will continue through Wednesday, began at 9 a.m. Tuesday and was scheduled to end around 4 p.m. Arielle Haynes, the center’s spokeswoman, said they aim to help 1,400 families this year by giving them $65 in food for the Thanksgiving holiday, along with a $15 gift card for a ham or turkey and toys for families with children at Christmas.
Each registrar will pick up their Thanksgiving package on either Nov. 16 or 17, and the Christmas toy give-away will be between Dec. 14 and 16.
Haynes said this year’s registration has been a little slower than in the past because they don’t have as many people helping out with the actual process.
“We also had a deaf group, which we had never had before, come in to register,” she said. “I actually know a little sign language, so I was able to interpret for them.”
She said the staff was still working on registering families after 5 p.m. Tuesday, but at midday they had signed up more than 430 families.
Natasha Chillious, 28, said this is the second year she’s registered for the program. She got to the Civic Center at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
“Last year was a smaller crowd … but when I got here the line was wrapped around the building,” Chillious said.
She heard about the program last year from a friend and learned it was continuing after a visit to the Department of Family and Children Services.
“It just helps with my kids,” she said. “Last year I lost my job (at Goodwill), so I wasn’t really able to provide a good Christmas for them, so it gave them something. I have little kids, so they don’t expect too much, but it was enough for them to be excited about.”
Chillious has 2- and 4-year-old daughters and a 1-year-old son.
She has traditionally always done her best to make sure she and her children have memorable Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.
“I just love family settings, so the holidays are what I look forward to, to be around my family,” she said.
Another couple that spent a large portion of their Tuesday waiting to register for the first-time is John and Jacqueline Wilson.
Jacqueline Wilson, 43, said she and her 50-year-old husband moved to Marietta about three months ago from Stone Mountain after they both lost their jobs.
“The school gave us the information about this in our daughter’s folder at school,” Jacqueline Wilson said. “We drive trucks and both lost our jobs and now he’s not able to work because his diabetes is crazy so he can’t get a DOT card, so I’m the only one working in just a retail job.
“We are just trying to get by. This will help us. God bless them.”
The couple only has only a 6-year-old daughter living under their roof, but they are the parents of five.
“This means a lot because I’m very prideful and I don’t like asking for help,” she said. “Every year we’ve always had big dinners. My son in college looks forward to coming home. Our oldest daughter will come and spend the night.”
Applicants must be considered low-income and live in Cobb County. The following documents are needed to register: a picture ID such as a drivers license; Social Security cards or birth certificates for all household members; written verification of all household incomes for the last four weeks, such as check stubs or letters from an employer on letterhead; written verification of all unearned income such as TANF, unemployment, workman’s compensation, Social Security, SSI or child support; and verification of Cobb County residency such as a lease or utility bill in registrar’s name.
Anyone interested in making monetary or food donations to the center is asked to drop off non-perishable items such as canned green beans, corn and packaged stuffing at CFR’s office, 995 Roswell St. in Marietta, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
For more information, call the center at (770) 428-2601, ext. 414, or visit it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thx4giving or Twitter at @thx4giving.