Over the last couple of years, Owensboro’s Salvation Army has ramped up its community assistance efforts to serve not just those typically associated with The Salvation Army, but also taking their ministry into the community through their CANteen program. This program provides a meal one night a week out of The Salvation Army van to different areas not typically considered for food distribution, including motels and apartments.
Captain Rebekah Abram, a corps officer in The Salvation Army, said the numbers for assistance have doubled over the previous year, and the army is looking for community donations to continue their service through their Angel Tree and Red Kettle campaigns.
Monday was the launch for the Angel Tree application process at The Salvation Army and although rain was forecast, Abram said that there were 15 people waiting for the doors to open to fill out applications.
“I anticipate more need for the Angel Tree this year,” Abram said.
The angels for community adoption will be available on Nov. 12 at The Salvation Army and at TJ Maxx. A message can be sent to The Salvation Army – Owensboro Kentucky Facebook page and an angel will be sent electronically.
People who request an angel are asked to spend $50 dollars per angel and the gifts for each area to be from four areas that are important to Abram — a want, a need, a wear and a read.
Rebekah said that last year, the Imagination Library of Daviess County brought in 200 books for the angels, something she hopes they will donate again this year.
Bell ringing and the Red Kettle campaign will begin on Nov. 15 and will be in full swing by Black Friday, Nov. 29. Aaron Abram said that with the Thanksgiving holiday being later this year, they anticipate losing $35,000, so they are looking at ways to involve the community before the campaign begins.
Through a red kettle challenge called “Ring It or Bring It,” the Abrams are challenging 35 local business groups or organizations to either ring at a location, and hope to raise $1,000 through their ringing efforts, or bring in a $1,000 donation to offset the missed funding.
Green River Appliance has already accepted the challenge and Abram hopes that many others follow suit.
The money from the campaign funds a majority of their annual budget and they are required to plan in advance what they anticipate collecting from the red kettles. If they don’t bring in what was budgeted, they have to find places to make cuts.
Another way to help the Red Kettle campaign is to participate in One Day Owensboro, the campaign to fill the day of ringing with volunteers instead of paid ringers through The Salvation Army. Less than half of the bell ringers are volunteers, but when larger groups take a day, they can offer shortened shifts to the volunteers. Abram would like to see more organizations, businesses and churches take a day.
The Salvation Army just received a $100,000 grant from Impact 100 at their annual meeting and will use this money to remodel their existing kitchen to help with their CANteen program and the other meals served at The Salvation Army.
Owensboro High School’s National Honor Society has begun volunteering the last Tuesday of each month to bring in food items, prepare the meals and deliver them as part of the CANteen program and members of Impact NextGen, which is modeled after Impact 100 Owensboro, are also volunteering for the program.
The Abrams expect the construction of the new kitchen to begin in January and said that the appliances that are in working condition will be shared with another Salvation Army shelter in need of appliances.
“Not only is this Impact money helping us, it’s helping others,” Rebekah said.
The Salvation Army is located at 235 S. Ewing Rd.