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Salvation Army; Helping Families Have a Better Holiday, Still Time to Give

Friday, December 21st, 2012

 

This time of year the inside of the Salvation Army looks like the North Pole, filled with toys and food items ready for distribution.

A SusanvilleStuff Feature

by Melissa Blosser, Assistant Editor

The Salvation Army in Susanville is very busy putting the community’s donations to work. This week volunteers are distributing all the food and toys the community has donated over the past several weeks.

Inside the Salvation Army location in the Grocery Outlet parking lot, it looks a lot like the North Pole, and volunteers are like Santa’s elves, busy at work.  This Christmas the Salvation Army gave 203 food boxes with turkeys and through the Angel Tree program, 172 Children received between 2 and 9 gifts each.

This year one Salvation Army Volunteer collected over 40 turkey donations and $3,212 in cash, earning him the name “The Turkey Guy,” and wants to remain anonymous.

“The personal contact is really a major part of this,” said the Turkey Guy. “Sometimes it feels like people are just waiting or have been waiting to give.”

According to the Turkey Guy, many people give back because there was a time when they received help from the Salvation Army.

“A lot of people tell me they had nothing, and they had a knock on their door unexpectantly, and it was the Salvation Army there with food the day before Thanksgiving,” said the Turkey Guy.

The Turkey Guy spent countless hours going to local businesses and several local individuals in town collecting donations for turkeys.  His persistence paid off.

“Most of the people who donate are small businesses but you get some from everywhere,” said the Turkey Guy.  ”I went to a larger Bank in town and each girl there told me that they couldn’t afford it this year, but then they each gave $3.00 and it all added up to get a turkey.”

Along with the Turkey Guy several other employees spend time working on programs for those in need such as the Angel Tree Program, Food Distribution, and Bell Ringing making the Holiday season a little better for those in need.

“I cannot say enough about our volunteers,” said Juanita Williams, The Salvation Army Coordinator.  ”I am so blessed to work with such wonderful people and every one of them has a heart for giving and it really shows as they help us “Do the Most Good” in Lassen County.”

Williams is the only paid staff member and  relies heavily on volunteers.  According to Williams most of the operating budget comes from the Red Kettle Drive and without ringers,  the organization can’t operate.

“Juanita is the Catalyst, really,” said the Turkey Guy when talking about Juanita Williams.

Williams coordinates the volunteers for all the programs and organizes the donations in her office among in addition to her other duties.

From now until Christmas, Safeway is holding their “Hunger” bag food drive.  Since the organization has given so much food this season, their food pantry is very low.  According to Williams they are out of essential items that are included in the Safeway food bags and could really use the help to replenish our pantry.

You can help by purchasing a $10 bag of food, and the contents of the bag are valued higher than $10, between now and Christmas to help the food drive.  All customers need to do is tell the cashier to add a Hunger Bag to their total and Salvation Army will receive the food.

Although you might not be able to compare with the efforts of the Turkey Guy, just a $10.00 donation at Safeway can help those in need this Holiday.

“I had so many wonderful interactions with people, the next story was just better than the last, it’s the satisfaction and the citizens that keep me going,” said the Turkey Guy.

For more information on the Salvation Army call (530) 257-0314.

The Salvation Army is still in need of food and you can help by donating just $10 00 at Safeway.

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