Staff members of Behavioral Health Associates, Inc. (BHA), a non profit health care foundation that provides educational and therapeutic services to children with behavioral and mental health needs in Carbon County, is striving to help the local needy members of the community who have children and are homeless.

To help raise funds to help the homeless, staff members collected about 30 bags full of gently used clothing and toys, which will be weighted and presented to an organization that weighs the items and gives the cash to Family Promise of Carbon County, an organization that is forming to help the local homeless with children.

Larissa Kimmel of president of FPCC, said the organization is striving to serve four to five homeless families in Carbon County or 15 individuals who are temporarily staying with family or friends or are lodged in hotels because they have no home of their own.

"We are forming and we need financial resources," she said.

Jonathon Rodgers, an employee of BHA, said that Family Promise is an organization formed with members of local churches, social services and civic organizations to help these families in need. He chaired the giving project at BHA because he is also a volunteer of Family Promise.

Kimmel said she gets calls weekly for help.

Kimmel is a staff member of Carbon/Monroe/Pilke Mental Health/Mental Retardation Program.

"When you work in social services, you get a feel for people who are needy," she said.

"We are working with a company who gives us so much a pound for items and they either give away the items we collect or resell them," she said.

Members of the community are also invited to help Family Promise help the homeless with children by donating used toys and clothing. Gently used clothing items and toys can be dropped off from 6 to 8 p.m. today, Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Zion United Church of Christ, Second and Iron streets, Lehighton. Items that will be accepted include wearable, usable women's, men's, and children's clothing, shoes, belts, handbags, coats, hats, and gloves, bed and bath linens and hard toys, stuffed animals and bicycles.

Baby gear such as high chairs, strollers, car seats, etc., furniture, books, VCR tapes and oversized toys will not be accepted. All toys must bit into a box that is sized 24 inches by 24 inches by 21 inches or smaller.

All items must be placed in heavy duty garbage bags. No loose items will be accepted.

For more information, call Larissa Kimmel at (610) 577-5060.