Salvation Army kicks off holiday charities

NOW: Salvation Army kicks off holiday charities

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- With Thanksgiving and Christmas inching closer and closer, the Salvation Army of South Bend is kicking off numerous charities that you can get involved with to help out families and children in need this holiday season.

The salvation army's motto is "Doing the Most Good,” and during the holiday season, this especially resonates through all of the volunteers and employees who work at the Kroc Center.

While many families begin shopping for their kids packed Christmas wish-lists, and shop for an array of Thanksgiving favorites to put on the dinner table, other families are struggling to get those gifts underneath the Christmas tree this year and put food on the table. This is where the Salvation Army steps in.

All year round, the organization strives to help provide resources for those less fortunate and help to families who need it the most, and the holidays are no different. This year, families are bracing for yet another challenging holiday season, as the pandemic has left many to struggle. So, to lend a helping hand, the Salvation Army will provide assistance to these families.

It'll be asking for donations through its Red Kettle Campaign to give meals this Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday, as well as providing Christmas gifts to kids through the Angel Tree Campaign. In order to make it all happen though; the Salvation Army is asking for a generous helping hand to make sure that no family is left behind this year.

"We actually depend on volunteers for bell ringing. That's what raises all of the money,” Salvation Army Special Events Coordinator Morgan Burson said. "I just know how important this money is for us and for all of the programs that we run, so spending two hours on a Saturday is no big deal to me to help the community."

Gathering enough volunteers during a normal year has always been a bit of a problem, but especially now with COVID-19 still prevalent, the need for volunteers has only increased. This is simply because people are just not filling out the volunteer forms for their charities.

The Salvation Army Special Events Coordinator Morgan Burson says this could be for many different reasons, but that the lack of helping hands could potentially put a damper on their goal of serving all the families they can this holiday season. Due to of the lack of volunteers, and because we are living in a time where many people don't feel comfortable leaving their homes still, the Salvation Army has come up with different ways to let people help out if they want.

One thing that the Salvation Army is doing this year is allowing virtual Red Kettles. This allows people who don’t want to stand in the cold, or feel uncomfortable being around a lot of people coming in and out of stores, to rally up donations online. People can also donate via Apply Pay, Google Pay, PayPal and Venmo, or through the QR code on-site if you see a Red Kettle ringer but don't have cash on you. The same goes for the Angel Tree Campaign, too. The Salvation Army has made adjustments so that you can provide kids a great Christmas, and donate virtually as well.

"We are standing outside in the cold weather; I understand that's not the most glamourous volunteer opportunity. But I think if people understand the importance of it, that maybe they would be willing to volunteer,” Burson said. "You can just go to mykroc.org and there's a Christmas tab. it'll tell you all the ways to get involved in the virtual red kettles there, so it's great for groups, schools, congregations, if somebody wants to do something inside and don't want to ring the bell, this is a great way to get involved."

For the Red Kettle Campaign, volunteers stand outside of one of the on-site Red Kettle locations and ring a bell for donations.

The Angel Tree Campaign serves an actual child, right here in our community, and officially starts up on Monday. To get your hands on one of the paper angels, you can head to any of their on-site locations. From there, you can purchase 2 to 3 toys for your listed child, and place the unwrapped gifts into the donation barrel at one of the drop-off locations.

Every year, the Salvation Army has a goal it strives to reach. While it's short on volunteers, organizers are confident that they will meet the need this year.

"All of the money raised stays right here in St. Joseph County so that is something not a lot of people know,” Burson said. "For our kettle campaign, its $145,000 this year and we do that from November 9th until December 24th. So, it's a huge goal, our community has always pulled through so we are hoping that they do the same. As far as kids go, we don't necessarily have a goal, it's whatever the need is. We meet the need of the community."

If you are interested in donating or volunteering, you can visit the Salvation Army’s website by clicking here.

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