Salvation Army has plenty of opportunities to help spread holiday cheer

| December 2, 2016

COSHOCTON – The red kettles are out and bells are ringing in Coshocton County, but The Salvation Army has much more than this project going on for the holidays.

The Salvation Army red kettle project kicked off Nov. 18 and will continue through Christmas Eve at eight locations in Coshocton County.

“The majority of the money raised during this time frame helps us sustain our services,” said Envoy Vicki Clark. “A small pile of it goes to our Christmas efforts, but most of it helps us from January to November with special needs requests and family services.”

The Salvation Army’s goal is to raise $35,000 this year.

“We had to up our goal,” Clark said. “Last year it was between $30,000 and $32,000, but we’ve seen a greater need in Coshocton. We didn’t see the high last year with WestRock closing, but we know many from WestRock contributed to United Way, which we are a partner agency with. We will see a loss from that so that’s another reason we increased our goal for the coming year to offset that percentage of funds we get from United Way.”

The Salvation Army has been in Coshocton since 1904, but the red kettle project dates back to 1891. At that time Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry. His goal was to provide a free Christmas dinner for 1,000 of the city’s poorest, but he needed to come up with a way to fund his project. McFee thought back to his sailor days and came up with the idea to place a pot at a ferry landing where he soon had collected enough money for the meal he wanted to serve.

Six years later the idea spread from the west coast to the Boston area and 150,000 Christmas dinners were provided to the needy. Today in the U.S., The Salvation Army assists more than four and a half million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

The Salvation Army is still looking for individuals, groups, churches or organizations that would be willing to volunteer their time at red kettle locations.

Clark said individuals are usually scheduled during the week to work shifts of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and groups on the weekends to handle the entire time frame of 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. This, however, isn’t the only opportunity to give back to the community this holiday season. The Salvation Army also is need of volunteers to help with Christmas Castle shopping dates and Christmas food distribution.

The Christmas Castle shopping dates are 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12 and Tuesday, Dec. 13, at Wal-Mart and volunteers will help children 6-18-years-old shop.

“We help with clothing and winter gear because some of those items are expensive especially if a family is on a very fixed and limited income,” Clark said. “To get boots for two to three children and winter coats is outrageous. This relieves families of some stress and the extra support goes a long way at Christmas time.”

Three hundred and twenty-two families are signed up for the program and Clark said they want to make the shopping days as enjoyable as possible.

“We want this to be a wonderful stress free experience that is a fun time enjoyed by all,” she said.

Twenty-five children are scheduled for each half hour time slot.

“The more volunteers we have the smoother it will go for parents and children,” Clark said.

Volunteers also are needed from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21. They will help hand out Christmas gifts to families with children who are preschool age and younger who were adopted by local organizations and churches and assist those who will be receiving food boxes.

Anyone interested in helping can call The Salvation Army at 740-622-0971 ext. 106 and leave their name and phone number.

“We will return your call and let you know when and where to come and help, but you don’t have to call,” Clark said. “If you just show up we will still find something for you to do to help the process go smoother. I think there are a lot of people out there that really want to give a half hour or so of their time, but don’t know what direction to go. We can provide them with an opportunity and a little bit of time will make a huge difference.”

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Category: Faith

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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