Some in need go online for holiday help

Bend craigslist ads seek jobs, presents

Craigslist "holiday help" ads

BEND, Ore. - Like many fathers, Cameron Gergits is proud to talk about his son.

"I just want to make sure he has everything that he could possibly need for the holiday season," said Gergits.

That's tough for him to do, he doesn't have steady work lives in a homeless shelter and is a about to go back to college.

To make the holiday as happy as possible, Gergits is reaching out through an unlikely source, craigslist.

"It's the time of season where everybody needs help and the only thing you can do is ask," Gergits said Tuesday.

He's not the only one using the online classifieds site in an attempt to make Christmas bright. A quick search on the Bend craigslist page shows dozens of "holiday help" ads.

Many are single parents, just like Gergits. Some are looking for donations of children's gifts for Christmas. Others are asking for a new pair of warm shoes for their child, or an odd job so they can make money to turn on their heat for Christmas.

And it's working.

"Just random jobs, you know -- shoveling people's driveways, keeping areas clean in a park or something," said Gergits.

Non-profit officials don't discourage helping people in times of need, but urge you to be strategic in your generosity.

"I'm a believer in trying to teach people to fish, rather than give people a fish. I think you'll feed them for a lifetime," said Vito DiMaio, director of resource development for United Way of Deschutes County.

One way to do that is connecting people in hard times with an agency that can help.

"My guess is that these folks are going through some challenges right now that will last beyond Christmas and through the rest of the year," said DiMaio.

But for right now, some at their wit's end are hoping to find an answer to their Christmas wishes online.

"My biggest wish for him is to know that his dad loves him, and is always here for him," said Gergits.

United Way says anyone in need can call 2-1-1 for help. They can also stop by an agency for more information.

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