United Way, Salvation Army set up kettles at five sites

Sunday, February 8, 2009
KIT DOYLE ~ kdoyle@semissourian.com
Patti Ansberry donates to the United Way and Salvation Army Basic Needs Fund Saturday morning, February 7, 2009, at Wal-Mart Supercenter in Cape Girardeau as her mother Ruth Ansberry watches.

The United Way of Southeast Missouri and the Salvation Army teamed up Saturday to man donation kettles for the second time this winter at five shopping areas in Cape Girardeau and Jackson.

"I thought it was a good thing to do for those who have so little," said Kathy McMillan of Jackson, who volunteered to stand beside a kettle Saturday at the Jackson Wal-Mart.

The kettle campaign is the United Way's mini campaign to raise funds.

"We were hoping to have eight kettle locations but couldn't find enough volunteers to man the locations," said Nicolette Brennan, United Way of Southeast Missouri marketing and communications specialist. "Press releases, Facebook, e-mails, phone calls were sent out, but the timing just wasn't right."

According to the United Way, the Salvation Army has seen a sharp increase in both the demand for services and the cost to provide those services. While the Salvation Army's kettle campaign during the Christmas season was a success, the need in the area is still rising. Thanksgiving meals last year increased by 400 from 2007. The Jackson Ministerial Alliance saw a 19 percent increase in the number of families requesting food assistance during its 2008 winter quarter compared to the same period the previous year. The Scott City Ministerial Alliance had 200 more families seeking food since last year.

KIT DOYLE ~ kdoyle@semissourian.com
Anthony Tucker donates to the United Way and Salvation Army Basic Needs Fund Saturday morning, February 7, 2009, at Wal-Mart Supercenter in Cape Girardeau.

Donations received will benefit the Salvation Army, Jackson Ministerial Alliance, Scott City Ministerial Alliance and similar agencies.

Collection sites at Schnucks and Kidd's gas stations will remain in place until the end of the month.

"What we're dealing with is not so much the poor in need but the middle class struggling with this economy," said Sam Roethemeyer, Jackson Ministerial Alliance president. "The food we get in goes right back out."

He added, "A lot of stuff we have to go out and buy, and the cost is tremendous. That's why gifts from service clubs, schools and other groups are so helpful toward helping us make up for what we're lacking."

Community members needing assistance can call First Call For Help, a one-stop guide to social services available in Cape Girardeau County and surrounding areas.

First Call For Help director Denise Wimp volunteered at the West Park Mall kettle with her husband, Jack, and 5-year-old son, Nicholas.

"The volume in calls has increased, and a lot of people who are trying to make it through the month need food pantries to do just that," Wimp said. "Requests for personal hygiene items and cleaning products have gone up because people can't buy them with food stamps."

Brennan said the campaign could be repeated if the need is there.

cpagano@semissourian.com

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