“Doing The Most Good” is The Salvation Army’s national brand strategy and distinct identifiable message, according to its website. Moreover, it is a promise the organization makes to its contributors, clients, associates, officers and employees.
It is a goal that The Army strives to achieve everyday here in Lake County. One of the most recognized holiday symbols around the world is the Red Kettle and bell ringer of The Salvation Army.
The 2013 holiday bell ringing campaign got underway Nov. 7 at Strack & Van Til’s store in Highland, thanks to Frank Van Til and the Strack and Van Til Corporation.
I have the privilege of serving with The Salvation Army on the Lake County Advisory Board and the Hammond/Munster Corps Advisory Council. As chairman, I see the many things that The Salvation Army does locally, every day, to help those in need.
I ask that you consider helping the Salvation Army reach its fundraising goals for this season. The Red Kettle campaign in Lake County provides 50 percent of our annual operating budget. This year our goal is $960,000.
It is not hard to give up an indulgence for a short time to give someone having a difficult time a happy holiday. Here are a few ideas:
- Whenever you see a bell ringer or counter kettle, drop in some spare change or a few dollar bills.
- Drop a gold coin in the kettle. It always creates excitement and a great news story.
- If you are a small business owner with a lot of foot traffic, request a counter kettle. Call your local corps to arrange a drop-off.
- Business, church groups, service clubs, neighborhood groups and even families can volunteer to staff a kettle for one day or more often.
- Individuals (older than 16) can volunteer in two-hour blocks to staff a kettle location.
- Start an online Red Kettle and get your “Friends” to donate. The kettle can appear on Facebook, Twitter and Google. Donations stay in Lake County. Go to www.onlineredkettle.org.
- When purchasing gifts for family and friends, buy one less for everyone on your list. Donate the extra gifts to The Salvation Army Christmas Shop.
- Don’t know what to buy? Stop by or call the local Salvation Army Corps for an Angel Tree card or suggestion.
- Don’t have time to shop? Write a check, drop it off, or mail it to your local corps. A volunteer worker will go shopping for you and remember, it is a tax-deductible contribution
Items always needed include winter jackets, hats, mittens, and scarves. What kid doesn’t want a toy, game, or sports item? Teenagers need age-appropriate gifts. If you donate items that require batteries, please supply them.
All three Lake County Salvation Army units will be collecting new items or accepting cash for the upcoming holiday toy and clothing program. Donations will be used to help hundreds of children have the type of holiday every kid deserves.
The three corps have received more than 2,000 requests from families and nearly 1,000 from seniors for holiday assistance. The Lake County total is expected to exceed 8,000 people.
Contact your local Salvation Army office for more information: Hammond-Munster Corps – (219) 838-0380; Gary-Merrillville Corps – (219) 887-6588; and East Chicago Corps – (219) 398-2939.