Salvation Army facing volunteer shortage, could affect assistance programs

Updated: 12/09/2013 11:26 PM
Created: 12/09/2013 11:15 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

Known for helping people in crisis, the Salvation Army is facing a crisis of its own and it needs your help.

The money that's collected during the annual Red Kettle Campaign helps to pay for about nine months worth of services to the community.

Donations are lagging partly due to a shortage of volunteers. 400 volunteer shifts are going unfilled everyday. That's at a cost of about $30 a kettle, a day. So what does that mean? It could mean fewer opportunities for people like Joshua Guy.

He says, "If it wasn't for the Salvation Army and the company as a whole I would be literally in a park sleeping, because I've been there and I've done that."

Guy was among a group referred to as chronically homeless. For the first time in years, the Warsaw native has a stable home, direction and he's on his way to earning a degree in accounting.

He says, "Now I can have a place where I can come to everyday when I get done with school. I don't have to stay out in the freezing cold wind. Like, I use to when I didn't always have a place to live."

Guy lives at the Salvation Army's Boothaven Shelter. He's an example of the people who benefit from the money you put in the Salvation Army Red Kettles.

The shelter is an example of a program officials say could face cuts if the Salvation Army doesn't reach its annual fund raising goal.

The Salvation Army also provides emergency food. A family whose cupboards are bare could come here and walk out with a bag or two of grocery.

Director of Social Services Mike Rodd says, "We provide our homeless folks with vouchers to the Salvation Army store so they can get clothing. As I mentioned mortgage assistance. We have a lot of services that we provide and we need the money to keep those services open."

Rood says the Salvation Army lost out on a week of collection time because Thanksgiving was so late this year. Now the organization is in a race to catch up.

He tells News10NBC, "What we want to do is see people turn their lives around. So we don't want to just give people a Band-Aid to service them. We want to  provide people who are homeless referrals for support services. Long term housing is our goal for all our homeless folks and even folks that come here, we want to provide them with budgeting information and other information and help people get out of crisis mode, if at all possible."

Just in case you're wondering what these services mean for people in an average year. Last year, I'm told the Salvation Army handed out 25,000 bags of groceries and provided 30,000 nights of shelter.

You can click here to make a donation and help out. Every donation counts and if you have time it's not too late to volunteer. We're told even an hour can make a difference.


55° | 25°
  • Feels like: 45° F
  • Wind: S 8mph
  • Humidity: 39%
  • Fri Considerable cloudiness
    60° | 36°
  • Sat Mix of sun and clouds
    51° | 39°
  • Sun Times of sun and clouds
    65° | 32°
  • Mon Cloudy
    69° | 39°