Salvation Army prepares for the holiday rush

Group seeks to make season brighter for those less fortunate

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Capt. Rick Hamelund, of The Salvation Army, holds two Red Kettles that will be used during The Salvation Army's annual Red Kettle campaign this winter. The campaign kicks off Nov. 16 and goes through Dec. 23.



The Salvation Army in Fort Dodge is looking to make the holiday season a little more cheerful for families and individuals who may not be able to afford it.

A number of events are being planned to help raise money and buy presents for low-income families, according to Capt. Rick Hamelund, of The Salvation Army.

This includes the annual Red Kettle campaign, which will begin Thursday and last through Dec. 23.

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Sharka Alstott, left, volunteer coordinator with The Salvation Army, and volunteer Rocky Urbanek unpack supplies that had recently been dropped off at The Salvation Army.

“I’d like to raise $48,000 through our kettle campaign,” Hamelund said. “We’ll be at Hy-Vee, Walmart, Hobby Lobby and Fareway.”

He described the campaign as The Salvation Army’s “major fundraiser” of the year.

“That helps us to keep our programs running,” he said. “And it stays locally. It doesn’t go Omaha or anything. It stays here locally and helps people locally.”

“It’s just to help as many people as we possibly can through this program,” Hamelund added.

Another program The Salvation Army is sponsoring is the Angel Tree, a program for low-income families.

“They can come here and fill out a special application,” Hamelund said. “Their families will receive a box based on their household size and the children 14 and under will get age-appropriate toys.”

He said the children are not allowed to receive electronics or anything expensive that’s between $40 and $50.

“The price is very reasonable,” he said. “Between $20 and $25 for the children.”

A tree will be on display at the Crossroads Mall with the name of a child that can be shopped for.

“We don’t set up a toy shop for the families to come in and shop,” he said. “It’s an actual, individual child.”

And for Thanksgiving, The Salvation Army will be hosting its annual Thanksgiving lunch.

The meal will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in The Salvation Army building at 126 N. Seventh St.

“We’ll have a Thanksgiving meal here for people that want to come here,” Hamelund said. “We don’t do carry-outs or delivery.”

Last year, about 225 people were served at The Salvation Army.

“It’s a traditional Thanksgiving meal and we’ll be doing that on Thanksgiving Day,” he said.

Hamelund said The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to help during the holiday season.

“We always appreciate any volunteers that would like to, especially during this time, to ring the bells,” he said. “I’m always looking for volunteers to help so we don’t have any open sites. Last year, I had so many open sites where I did not have a ringer.”

He said anybody is welcome to volunteer, and he said groups such as church groups, service organizations, school groups and clubs are also encouraged so sign up.

Those interested in volunteering should contact The Salvation Army at 576-1281.


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