The Salvation Army is committed to giving hope through giving help, but tough economic times can make that difficult.
Arlene Stevens fills a container with soup made in the Salvation Army kitchen. The Salvation Army helps feed many people throughout the year.
Locally, the organization’s Christmas kettle campaign brought in about the same amount as last year ($62,000) but need increased in November and December.
“Resources are low for many people,” said the Salvation Army’s Arlene Stevens. “Now and then someone calls and says they have some money they would like to put toward helping someone, which is really nice. We need to get more food drives going; our grocery bills are high.”
The charity was able to help many people have a merrier Christmas than they might have experienced otherwise. Gifts and food parcels were provided to about 100 families and the Christmas dinner was a great success, with approximately 150 meals served.
“It was fabulous,” said Stevens. “There were 25-30 deliveries made and some of those people sent back envelopes with donations. A few people took a meal home to someone who couldn’t get out.”
Everything was cooked on site and about 75 people showed up to help prepare, serve and clean up. Some were regular volunteers, some show up occasionally and others were new.
“Everybody works well together and we feel good about helping,” Stevens said. “Some of the people who come out for Christmas dinner have nowhere else to go and they enjoy being with others.”
She said that this year the Salvation Army hopes to get some of its children’s programs up and running again, to raise more funds for summer children’s camp (They usually send 20-25 children to camp.), to continue helping those in need and to do some major fundraising.
Because she still has frozen turkeys she is planning to raise some money by holding a Valentine-themed turkey dinner in February.
“The challenge is always to feed and help,” she added. “Giving hope today is what we do, and if people have hope today there is more possibility they will wake up with hope tomorrow. We give encouragement and food, and try to give options for what we can’t provide.”