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St. Vincent de Paul helps parents in need put presents under the Christmas tree

Parents who need some extra help this holiday season can get a voucher and pick out presents at one of three locations for their children.

BOISE — There are a lot of things that come to mind when you think of the holiday season: family, food and maybe even opening presents on Christmas.

But there are some people that may not be as fortunate to experience some of those things and that's where the St. Vincent de Paul toy store comes in.

For the 10th year, St. Vincent de Paul is handing out vouchers to parents who may need a little extra help this time of the year.

Those vouchers allow them to visit the central toy store on Broadway Avenue or any of its two satellite locations and pick out toys for their children this holiday season.

The store opened last week and will remain open until December 22.

To get a voucher, parents must call the organization's help line.

Right now, the organization is also looking for donations from the community.

“We are seeing demand like we've never seen before and we're expecting almost double the amount that we've seen in the past,” St. Vincent de Paul Executive Director Ralph Mays said. “Last year we served 1,400 kids in the valley. This year, I can easily see that we're going to surpass 2,500, maybe up to 3,000.”

St. Vincent de Paul says the organization is short of toys, particularly for older children.

St. Vincent de Paul is one of the few programs in the valley that serve children from zero to 18.

Anyone who would like to donate new gifts this holiday season will also get a 25 percent discount coupon to its thrift stores.

The organization also help people who are struggling with their rent or utilities.

It also has five food pantries from Mountain Home to Caldwell, and the largest is in Boise.