More sign up for Christmas assistance, Salvation Army official says
The Salvation Army's kettle campaign kicked off on Nov. 19.
JAMESTOWN – This year there are Angel Tree tags for more than 400 children in Stutsman County, said Maj. Judy Lowder, corps officer, executive director and pastor of the Jamestown Salvation Army.
“That represents the children that were signed up (age) 18 and under that their parents signed them up for Christmas assistance,” she said.
Each tag has the child’s gender, age and size of clothing and for children 13 and younger, the top three toy choices. Tags were distributed to 14 locations in Jamestown the week of Nov. 7, Lowder said.
“We did see an increase of people that came in for Christmas assistance,” she said. “Also, an increase of new households who’ve never had to apply for help came to us to get help with Christmas assistance.”
The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign kicked off Nov. 19 and runs through Dec. 24. Kettles are located at Cash Wise Foods and the Jamestown Business Center. Individuals, families and groups can go to RegisterToRing.com and sign up to ring from the days and times available, Lowder said.
“They are inside so they can ring bells and stay warm,” she said.
Bell-ringing is Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Jamestown Business Center and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Cash Wise Foods. Lowder said ringing the bell even for an hour or two makes a difference.
This year’s total Christmas fundraising goal is $158,000, with $60,000 of that amount raised at the kettles.
Lowder noted that people need assistance all year, which is what the fundraising campaign supports.
Lowder, who was manning the Coats for Kids giveaway on Friday, did not have numbers available at that time for households needing help for Christmas.
“We did see an increase of people that came in for Christmas assistance,” she said. “Also an increase of new households who’ve never had to apply for help came to us to get help with Christmas assistance.”
She said she thinks more people are having a difficult time making ends meet.
“... Prices are rising but unfortunately, people aren’t getting more money in and trying to figure out, ‘OK, what are we going to do. We’re already on a tight budget and trying to make sure we have enough to pay for just basic expenses,’” she said. “And so thankfully, we’re able to help at least relieve some of that for their Christmas dinner … and they’d be able to get their toys for their children.”
Those signing up for Christmas assistance get a voucher to use at Cash Wise Foods to purchase the food that they want for their Christmas dinner, she said.
People picking up tags from the Angel Trees should bring their purchased gifts by Dec. 2 to the Salvation Army. Parents have appointments to pick the gifts up on Dec. 20 and Dec. 22.
The Jamestown Salvation Army’s food pantry is doing well at this time, Lowder said. It was forced to close for a few days in October when supplies diminished.
“People are continuing to donate to us so we’re grateful for that,” she said. “So it’s been amazing the generosity of the community that has stepped up when we said we needed help. They answered the call.”
She said they’re grateful for the food that’s been donated and asked people to consider donating when the weather is warmer also.
“Need has no season,” she added. “... we have people that come to us 365 days out of the year needing assistance. And so that’s why when we plan our budget and (are) looking at those things to be mindful of how we’re going to stretch our dollars. And that’s why it is important for our Christmas fundraising so that we can continue to meet those needs in our community.”
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