“The reason behind it, of course, is in celebration of National Salvation Army Week and [we are] using that as an opportunity to raise awareness in the community about what The Salvation Army does and how we serve every day here in Bartow County,” said Lt. Michelle Wilson with the local Salvation Army. “We [also] are striving to increase donations during that week and [help] the community recognize something that they may not know, [such as] everything that goes into the Family Store here in Cartersville provides opportunities for those in our community.
“[This could include] a family who may see it as an opportunity for a low-cost alternative to be able to provide for their family without having to ask for help or it provides an opportunity for someone who may be in need of a job and comes to The Salvation Army through a collaboration with the Department of Labor and needs a voucher to be able to go and get clothes that they could wear for a job interview. And, then if someone else comes in and purchases these items, then everything that we sell at the store comes back into the programs and opportunities that we provide here at The Salvation Army through our social services program. So what we think of as an old polo shirt hanging in the back of our closet that we’ll never wear again, when it’s donated to The Salvation Army, it then becomes a new resource that can help someone else have a new start.”
Along with financial contributions, The Salvation Army also is seeking donations for its Family Store during National Salvation Army Week, which spans from May 13 to 19. Items, such as clothing, books, furniture, household goods and appliances, can be dropped off during the facility’s hours of operation — Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
While the Cartersville Corps is planning its community celebration, the staff also is preparing to distribute $3,771 in Emergency Food and Shelter funds to people in need.
“The Emergency Food and Shelter Program, the money comes from FEMA,” said Julie Haigler, chairman of the local Emergency Food and Shelter board. “We have a local board here in Bartow County and we decided that the priority need for our community was utility assistance. ... There’s a huge need to help people with utility assistance so we were glad to [receive these funds].”
Echoing Haigler’s sentiments, Wilson commented on the overall need for this form of assistance in Bartow County.
“We’re extremely grateful to be the recipient of those funds,” Wilson said. “Every day here at The Salvation, we receive numerous phone calls [from] people who need some help — maybe they’ve [been] laid off from a job, maybe they’ve had a health concern that’s come up that’s prevented them from work or has increased their expenses because they’re trying to handle a medical issue on top of all the other things that they have to handle in life and maybe they don’t have insurance.
“So people turn to The Salvation Army and other nonprofits in our community for assistance when they’re facing disconnection of their utility bill and they just don’t have the resources to handle it. So that’s what these funds are going to be used for, to add to what we do here in Bartow County day in and day out through the financial assistance with disconnected utility bills. On average at The Salvation Army, we spend between [$6,000] and $8,000 a month providing services regularly through our programs that we work through in partnership with the United Way and our Project Share resources that we get through Georgia Power as well as other private donations. So this extra $3,000 will be just a little bit more that we can help meet the needs within the community.”
For more information about The Salvation Army and its programs, call 770-387-9955.