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      Salvation Army sees increase in youth programs

      For two years Elizabeth Leal said her three grandchildren have taken part in the Salvation Army youth programs.

      I would rather have them here and not on the street, Leal said.

      She said, in this economy, everyone has to work to make ends meet. Sometimes, she said, should would have to leave her grandchildren alone while they were on a school break.

      They TMve been a blessing to our family, Leal said.

      According to the Associated Press, a survey taken of the Salvation Army youth programs showed that demand is up. It also stated that 56 percent of these programs are operating at or beyond capacity.

      Juan Gomez, resource director for the Salvation Army in McAllen, said it is true"their youth programs fill up quick and it is almost impossible to turn someone away.

      Last week, for example, we had a small BBS, He started. We originally planned for 30 children and we ended up with 42.

      He added, the extra kids does put a strain on the army. We plan for crafts weeks or months in advance---also the snacks. We need to make sure we have enough.

      But no matter how difficult it might be---Gomez said they will not turn a child away.