By Natalie Simms
Coming off their busiest Christmas season yet, the Salvation Army of Rome continues to need community support as it begins a new year. Given increasing need due COVID-19 pandemic and job losses, more are seeking assistance and donations will be needed throughout the year, says Lt. Paula Blevins.
Over Christmas, the Salvation Army of Rome helped 630 children and senior adults through its Angel Tree program, this was nearly double the amount helped in 2019.
“This year, Angel Tree was much larger than last year. Due to COVID and the lack of income people have experienced, we expected the need to be greater this year, and it was,” says Blevins. “We helped 630 children and seniors this year with gifts and a food box for each family. Last year, Rome helped 345 children and seniors.”
Despite COVID challenges, their annual Red Kettle Campaign was successful raising much needed funds.
“Our Red Kettle Campaign (kettles at actual locations with bell ringers) went very well this year, considering all the challenges we faced. We do not have the final numbers yet, but are projecting that the total of the actual kettle income will exceed last year’s total, approaching approximately $84,000.00,” she says. “This does not count revenue from the Virtual Online Red Kettle, which at our last report was just under $5,000.00. All total together, we should be close to $90,000.00. This also does not include other Christmas contributions received through the mail and dropped off at the office. We are very pleased with this year’s Red Kettle Campaign—that’s A LOT of $1, $5, $10, $20 bills, and even some $50’s and $100’s given at the Red Kettle this year.”
One challenge facing the Salvation Army as their head into 2021 is the drop in canned food collections. Weather and other factors hampered their annual canned food drive last month.
“We always accept donations of canned and non-perishable food—year round. We did have some challenges this year with the food drive. It rained on the day of the community drop-off so that hindered the donations considerably,” says Blevins.
“We also adapted our program to help the schools by providing them with barrels to collect their donations and then we picked them up since the schools could not participate in bringing their donations to us. We hope to have a normal, large canned food drive in 2021, and possibly an extra one during the summer months to help sustain us throughout the year.”
Blevins says canned foods, financial contributions and volunteers are always needed. In fact, volunteers are needed this week to help sort and box the holiday canned food donations for the coming months.
“Financial contributions are always needed and appreciated. These contributions help to sustain our program work throughout the year,” she says. “We are extremely grateful and blessed with a community with such a generous spirit; we are very thankful to serve at the Salvation Army of Rome serving Floyd, Polk and Chattooga counties. We look forward to getting to work with many in our community in the new year.”
Ways to help:
- Continue to watch their Facebook page (The Salvation Army Rome, GA) for needs that are posted and help supply those needs (it may be blankets, gloves, food, water, etc.).
- Financial support: You can go to our website (www.salvationarmygeorgia.org/rome) and click the donate tab to make a one-time or a recurring donation; or donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 5188, Rome, GA 30162.