SOUTH HAVEN | In the past two years, record numbers of Porter County residents have come through the doors of the local Salvation Army headquarters looking for help.
Some need food. Others need help with mortgage, rent or utility payments, Maj. Jon Welch said.
The Salvation Army will get most funds for assistance in the next six weeks during the annual holiday fundraising campaign that includes the iconic red kettles and bell ringers.
The Salvation Army of Porter County began its annual effort Thursday, hoping to raise $240,000 through the kettle and mail campaigns.
That's $8,000 more than last year's goal.
"We are seeking an increase because there is an increase in need," Welch said.
In addition to emergency assistance, The Salvation Army offers case management services for families, and during the holiday season provides a community Thanksgiving Day dinner, Angel Tree gift distribution for children, Adopt-A-Family program, Christmas nursing home/shut-in senior gift distribution, Christmas food distribution, and youth and family Thanksgiving and Christmas parties.
In the past year, the Porter County group assisted more than 7,000 people with an average of $1,000 per day of assistance for an annual expenditure of more than $340,000.
Red kettle collection will begin Saturday in a limited number of Porter County locations. Some 20 locations will be manned by volunteers or paid staff Nov. 25. Welch said anyone interested in volunteering can call (219) 762-9191 or email Jonathan_Welch@usc.salvationarmy.org.
David Sharp, of Morgan Township, presented a 29-pound turkey Thursday to The Salvation Army to be used for the Thanksgiving meal on behalf of his son Andrew. Since 2005, Andrew Sharp has donated a turkey he raised through 4-H to The Salvation Army.
David Sharp said this may be Andrew's final donation because he is no longer in 4-H and is attending Ball State University.