Salvation Army thankful for generous community

Sunday, December 16, 2012
Salvation Army bell ringer Marcos Jackson greets shoppers with “Merry Christmas,” and “God bless you,” Wednesday at West Park Mall. (ADAM VOGLER)

With less than two week to go, the Salvation Army has reached nearly 70 percent of its $320,000 goal for the holiday season. According to Maj. Ben Stillwell, the local organization has raised more than $223,000 through its red kettle campaign. The campaign began Nov. 13 and continues through Dec. 24.

"This season has gone well," Stillwell said. "The Lord has been gracious and this is a giving community."

Stillwell said the money will be used to fund the Salvation Army's services for the holidays and throughout year. He said the kettle campaign helped the Salvation Army serve 1,575 meals on Thanksgiving.

According to Stillwell, the organization hopes to serve 445 families this Christmas season with food and other needs. The money will also be used to help supplement toy drives, provide short-term emergency relief and support its food programs like Meals with Friends.

Stillwell said other donation events such as Coats for Kids, the turkey drive and Cans Film Festival have all been successful. He said that 3,034 coats were distributed to people in need this year.

The turkey drive resulted in nearly 100 families receiving a turkey for Thanksgiving who otherwise would not have been able to enjoy one. The drive will continue through Dec. 21, and Stillwell said they are close to meeting their goal of 454 turkeys.

The Cans Film Festival at Cape West 14 Cine collected 45,783 cans and other food items.

The turkeys and canned foods will be used for Christmas baskets that will be distributed Dec. 21 to 24. On Wednesday, the VFW also donated $2,000.

Stillwell said the Salvation Army has seen many new faces in need of the organization's services.

"Costs have gone up for everything, and there are more people asking for help," Stillwell said.

Stillwell said the organization is still looking at options for the thrift store, which temporarily closed Nov. 30.

"We are exploring options. This will take time," Stillwell said. "We've had some inquiries and explored locations, but nothing has worked out yet."

Stillwell said he is thankful for the support of the community.

"A good thing about this community, is we can get things to people at the last moment," he said. "If you tell the community there is a need, they respond as best they can. This is a fantastic community and we can't do it without its support. A lot of people don't realize how kind and good-hearted the community is."

Anyone interested in donating to the Salvation Army can do so Monday through Friday at the following locations: Walmart in Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Perryville; Save-A-Lot in Cape Girardeau and Jackson; Sam's Club, Sears Grand, Dollar General, Schnucks, Food Giant, West Park Mall, Macy's, J.C. Penney, Walgreens, Big Lots, Kmart and Hobby Lobby in Cape Girardeau; and Buchheit's in Jackson. Donations also can be made at the Salvation Army facility located at 701 Good Hope St. in Cape Girardeau.

apicar@semissourian.com

388-3648

Pertinent address: Salvation Army, 701 Good Hope St., Cape Girardeau

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