Annual red kettle campaign helps Salvation Army serve local community in many ways
The Salvation Army held a kettle ringing kick-off Saturday at Weisiger Park, complete with a 30-plus member band. Capt. Patrick Richmond said The Salvation Army Paradise Band and Arts Band has members from all over the country.
Two of those members were Capt. Richmond, playing the euphonium, and his wife, Maj. Carey Richmond, on the cornet. They’ve been the corps officers in charge of the local center for the last three years.
The organization’s well-known red Kettles are already in action at Hobby Lobby in Danville and the IGA in Liberty. The area Walmarts (Danville, Stanford, Harrodsburg) and Krogers (Danville and Harrodsburg) will begin Friday.
The Salvation Army serves Boyle, Casey, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties on a budget of about $1 million.
“That’s everything, for social services …” Capt. Richmond said.
It includes rent and utility assistance, clothing, food, a summer day camp, an after-school program and things like furniture vouchers. Whenever anyone donates any household items, like furniture or pots and pans, to the store, it can go to families at no cost to them when they show a need, he said. Families may receive vouchers from American Red Cross, or other agencies, such as in the cases of a flood or fire.
“We’re on a shoestring budget with a skeleton crew,” Capt. Richmond said. “But those who work are amazing. We have 16 total in staff. We are on 365 days a year. We’re continually working — continually. We’re pushing.”
Holidays get particularly frantic for the organization.
“We started back in the beginning of October with the Angel Tree applications,” he said. The program represents more than 400 children and 165 families. Families in need come to The Salvation Army for help, but first must go through an application process.
“They have to meet certain criteria to be put on the list, based on household income and expenses. We have a wonderful formula that puts that all together. We rarely turn anyone away,” he said.
This past weekend, The Salvation Army partnered with Centerpoint Church in preparing more than 800 meals that went out Sunday, hand-delivered by church members.
“We love Danville,” Capt. Richmond said. But it takes the full community buy-in to continue doing what they do each year.
“We can always use more volunteers,” Maj. Richmond said. She says although there’s only about 10 angels left who are up for adoption from the Angel Tree, with gifts due returned by Dec. 7, they still need help with things like preparation and gift distribution on Dec. 14.
But even more help could be used in the form of individuals donating at the kettles when they see them, even if it’s just spare change, Capt. Richmond said.
“Change makes change,” he said.
Donors can also take advantage of The Salvation Army’s partnership with Kroger, called Food Angels.
Kroger customers can opt to buy Food Angels gift cards at the registers when they check out for $25. The store then sends the gift cards to the local office to be distributed to families.
All Krogers are participating, but the Danville and Harrodsburg locations’ cards are returned here to the local office to be used within the area communities.
“We do want to help families through hardships,” Capt. Richmond said. “But our biggest desire is to enact hope. To help with hope. To give people more than just a gift for their children or help with their rent. We would like for people to be able to see hope for what tomorrow will bring.”
He says in the three years they’ve been here, they’ve not seen any specific changes in needs. “Hardships are consistent. We never have a ‘down’ week or month. People always need food, rent and utility assistance. It’s consistent.”
Maj. Richmond said for the families who participate in the holiday programs, “It truly is the only way they are going to get food on the table and make Christmas special for their kids. We don’t get to see that on Christmas Day, per se, but we see the gratitude on every face that comes in.”
Capt. Richmond said he wishes more would come visit the office, community center and store off of South Fourth Street. He offers “talking tours,” where he takes visitors through, explaining all the behind-the-scenes action.
“They see behind the shield, what happens at The Salvation Army,” he says. “If people could get their eyes on what we do, I think their hearts will follow.”
According to Oct. 2017-Sept. 2017 statistics, the local office provided 8,489 meals and 470 separate grocery orders. During that time period, it distributed 1,500 toys and 2,500 gifts; fulfilled furniture needs 69 times; provided six nights of lodging; and gave clothing assistance in 287 cases. It also served individuals with various community programs, including: a women’s group (398 people); men’s club (294); seniors’ club (338); college group (1,086); teen group (123); young boys group (198); young girls group (188); older girls group (142); preschoolers (55); and music school (970).
For that year, 6,476 people utilized the community center; 6,859 took part in youth spiritual development; 1,685 in education classes; 1,233 in special trips; 6,440 in structured recreation; and 33 in camp experiences over 179 days provided.
Community visits included 2,084 hours of visitation, with 1,407 workers seeing 2,429 people. Community worship saw 1,318 in Sunday school; 1,927 in Sunday church; 842 in weekday Bible study; 633 in prayer meetings; and 124 in vacation Bible school.
SO YOU KNOW
To volunteer as a kettle bellringer for The Salvation Army, call Dana Long. To help with the Dec. 14 Angel Tree distribution event, call Maj. Carey Richmond; both may be reached at (859) 236-4473.