David and Jennifer Gupta wanted to do something about that, so two years ago they started the Fallen Angels project, an independent effort to provide good food, basic necessities and children's toys to local families who are struggling.
This year, the project is growing fast, attracting more volunteers, more sponsors and more participants.
"I know it's a really hard time of year for a lot of families," Jennifer Gupta said. "This community has done so much for David and I. We want to give back."
The Guptas are accepting donations through Friday, Dec. 21.
Donations of new or gently used toys, blankets, coats, shoes, mittens, hats or books can be dropped off at the Guptas home, 1654 W. Kay St., at High Maintenance Hair Salon, 1910 S. Odell Ave. or at Elmer Hare Ford, 966 W. North St., where a car in the showroom has its trunk filled with donations of toys for Fallen Angels.
Anyone with questions can call the Guptas at 660-886-7668 or High Maintenance at 314-570-5888 or 660-886-3711.
The Guptas are still accepting nominations for Marshall families in need. Families can nominate themselves by calling Jennifer Gupta at the number above or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Guptas will contact nominees to get more information about their situation and their needs.
Volunteers will wrap presents and prepare donations for delivery on Dec. 20-21. Deliveries will be made Sunday, Dec. 23. The Guptas have several volunteers lined up to help make deliveries, but a few more would be helpful, they said.
In addition to toys and necessities, volunteers will deliver the makings of a holiday feast.
"They will have an entire Christmas meal available to them," Jennifer Gupta said. "None of it is prepared, which will allow them to make their own meal together as a family."
For the Guptas, the project involves work, but the rewards far outweigh the sacrifice.
"We really have enjoyed it," Jennifer said. "I love to be involved with people. I've made a lot of friends, and I've learned so much about the community."
She said other volunteers agree that giving is its own reward.
"People say, 'Thank you for letting us help,'" she said.