A mother of four is asking for coats for the children.

An elderly woman on Social Securty hasn't been able to buy groceries since September.

The majority of those in need have been laid off and many need help paying utility bills.

They are all among the 108 verified needs in The Neshoba Democrat's annual Plea for the Needy campaign.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 51 families remained in need before the Friday deadline for adoption. Fifty-seven have been adopted.

The Neshoba Baptist Center is screening applicants and coordinating adoption for the campaign that is in its ninth year.

To adopt a family, call Glen Jackson at the Baptist Center, 601-656-1820, or e-mail plea@neshobademocrat.com.

Cash donations are accepted or donors can do the shopping and drop items off at the Baptist Center, 903 Valley View Dr., or at The Neshoba Democrat.

Donors can arrange to meet a family and deliver the items themselves.

An anonymous person submitted the request for the elderly woman on Social Security, saying she is in dire need of food and help paying utility bills.

"Please attempt to help her some during a most difficult time," the request said. "She has purchased no groceries since September. She has no children and no friends, much. She is such a sweet gentle person. She can't drive or get around a lot."

Mostly, she needs someone's love and attention to cheer her up so she can cope with the holidays, the request said.

"Our people have really stepped up for these families," said Glen Jackson, association missions director at the Neshoba Baptist Center.

"We received a large donation from a lady yesterday who said she usually puts a dollar or two in the [Salvation Army] kettles but this year she wanted to make a bigger impact."

A Memphis resident who read about the campaign on the Democrat's website called Jackson this week and adopted a couple of families. A Georgia family with Neshoba County roots adopted 13 families.

"That's what they wanted to do for each other's Christmas presents this year," Jackson said.

The objective of the Plea for the Needy is to match those who are in the most need with individuals, groups or businesses able to give aid.

Many of the requests were submitted by grandparents who are raising their grandchildren and are in need of assistance.

One father wrote that his family, which includes an eight-month-old daughter, struggles to keep warm.

"Times are hard but I try to put my family first and me last," he said.

One mother said she really doesn't like asking for help but her four children need warm clothing, including coats.

Even the hardest working, most honest people can fall on hard times and the annual holiday campaign is designed to help those who find themselves in the most need.

The need might be as simple as a visit or a desire to share a Christmas meal with a family or winter coats, food, medicine or help with utility bills.

The needs are listed on page 13A of the Democrat this week.

Sixty-four families were helped last year through the Plea for the Needy campaign.