Salvation Army raises more than $4K | CraigDailyPress.com
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Salvation Army raises more than $4K

Funds used to help residents in emergency situations

Samantha Johnston

They can be seen every Christmas season ringing bells and offering kind words in front of local grocery outlets and department stores. They are volunteers and their common cause is to help collect money for distribution in communities across America to help those in need.

They’re fulfilling their mission one penny at a time, and generous Moffat County residents helped this year to the tune of more than $4,334.

In existence for more than 120 years, the Salvation Army is a faith-based organization that cooperates with churches of all denominations to meet the needs in their communities.

“Without the volunteers who ring the bell, it would never work. I’m just amazed that people are willing to help us,” said Marie Peer, Salvation Army chairperson.

And this year, the Salvation Army fell a few dollars short of last year’s earnings.

But Peer was not disappointed.

“This is incredibly good for us,” Peer said. “Last year we had a great year, but we attributed that to 9/11 and we were right on track this year.”

Salvation Army volunteer Dena Thompson attributes the success to the community who is so willing to give, but also to the volunteers.

“It is very hard to get people to ring the bell each year,” Thompson said. “Who we do get, we highly appreciate because volunteers are so hard to find. Once you do it, you get hooked on it.”

The Salvation Army is a branch of the Denver regional office, Peer said.

“Ninety percent of money collected in Moffat County is used locally,” she said. “Ten percent goes back to Denver and is used for things such as disaster relief, no matter where that is — if there were a disaster here, that 10 percent could very well come back here.”

Many local residents don’t realize that the money is used locally and available for emergency funding, Peer said.

“If somebody has a need, then they contact social services. If there are no state or federal funds to help meet their needs, then we determine exactly what their need is and how we can help them,” she said.

The local group’s mission is to help people get back on their feet and to help solve their problems with a one-time donation. Strict guidelines help to determine who is eligible for funding and to what degree local funding will be offered.

“Our guidelines say that the situation needs to be an emergency and a real need and we usually do not go over $100 per person for any one emergency,” Peer said. “And, we try to only help each individual or family once per year.”

The goal is to help people who are in a dire situation, but one that is not permanent.

“We really try to help people who have an emergency and are up a creek and really have no where else to go,” Peer said.

Ultimately, the group likes to help people to resolve their problems and avoid situations that put them in emergency need.

“If somebody doesn’t have any rent money and doesn’t have a job, then the money we give them will just help them to face the next month with no rent money,” Peer said. “Then we help them to resolve their situation and find a means to deal with it.”

Because of the generosity of the community, the Salvation Army doesn’t have many people who need things like clothing and food.

“We coordinate with other agencies such as the food bank,” Peer said. ” We help in many different areas like rent, utilities, medications and sometimes people need just an overnight for somebody who needs somewhere to go before they move into a home or whatever.”

The typical campaign season begins Thanksgiving weekend and ends the weekend before Christmas.

Peer knows that the Salvation Army is an organization with long-term benefits.

“When I was ringing the bell, a man came by and gave generously,” she said. “The man said that he remembered as a kid that what the Salvation Army gave to his family was the only Christmas that they had.”


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