Cali Owings, Published February 04 2014
Salvation Army $77,000 short of holiday goal, but doesn't plan to reduce services
While short of its $950,000 goal, the Salvation Army will not reduce any of its community services, Maj. Byron Medlock said.
“We will tighten our belt. We will look for areas where we can get more funds. We will look at where we can stretch the dollar so this community will not suffer,” he said.
The Salvation Army increased its goal this year because of the demand in the area. Medlock said they received 189 calls they could not service in January.
“Our need is not going down,” he said. “We have to meet that goal.”
He emphasized that it is not too late to donate, and the Salvation Army will seek other sources of funding, such as grants, to help make up the $77,000 difference.
He said December’s frigid temperatures and the shortened campaign season likely contributed to the group missing its goal.
More than 5,000 volunteers helped man kettles throughout the area starting with its Nov. 20 kickoff.
Nearly two-dozen area businesses, service groups and individuals partnered with the Salvation Army to provide volunteers for full- and half-day shifts.
Maj. Elaine Medlock said it “warms her heart” when she meets people who tell her ringing the kettle is an important part of their Christmas season.
“They’re doing two things. They’re doing a great thing for us in helping raise the funds, and also building family traditions that are meaningful to them,” she said.
She said money raised locally stays within the community to provide services such as rent assistance, gas vouchers and a feeding program that provides meals seven days a week.
This year, the Salvation Army is starting a new program called Pathways to Hope, she said.
They’ll work closely with a few families to help them move into “self-sufficiency” instead of providing one-time crisis help.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Cali Owings at (701) 241-5599