The Salvation Army is preparing to launch its Christmas programs in the face of a trying economy for charities and individuals alike.
Today is the last day applications will be taken from families for the empty stocking fund and in the next week, collection kettles and Angel Trees will be going out in anticipation of the holidays, according to Capt. Tammy Ray
The Empty Stocking Fund provides families in need with toys, food and clothing, and works in conjunction with the Angel Tree program, in which donors select a tag with a child’s name and gift wish from a tree.
Individual needs seem to be higher but donations have been thinner this year, Ray said.
“When the economy is hit hard, the first thing that people stop doing is giving to charitable donations,” Ray said. “This has been a tough year for us financially and unfortunately it’s the people that we help that get the short end of that stick.”
Ray, who estimated between 500 and 600 children will be included in Empty Stocking applications, said she has no doubt the holiday needs of families will be met.
“Every year that we think that, ‘Oh, it’s not going to happen,’ something comes through. I’m not concerned that we wont be able to assist them because we'll find a way,” she said.
It’s the ongoing funding that Ray said she’s particularly concerned about.
Ray said this year there have been many requests for rent and mortgage assistance, which the Salvation Army has not been able to help with because of funding shortages.
Kettle collections, where volunteers stand outside local stores, ringing a bell and collecting donations, are an integral part of funding assistance programs throughout the year, she said.
• Nov. 21 — Angel Trees will be going out to Wal-Mart and the North Plains Mall. Tags will also be available at The Salvation Army’s if businesses would like to have a tree in their office's. If businesses and individuals would like to adopt a family, they can contact the Salvation Army at 762-3801.
• Nov. 22 — Kettles will be going out. Albertson’s and The Salvation Army will be hosting a Kettle Kick-off event. The Salvation Army’s new mobile kitchen will be set up in the Albertson’s parking lot and will be giving away coffee and donuts. The Salvation Army will be accepting new toys, canned food, and financial donations.
Volunteers to ring bells are needed.
• Checks for the Empty Stocking need to be made payable to The Salvation Army.