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Charity group needs help to fulfill mission

June 21, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg Salvation Army has hit a summertime lull in donations and officials worry they could have trouble meeting the community's need without additional support.

"We are concerned that we won't be able to help people arriving at our door through the summer," said Chambersburg Corps Officer Captain John Brooks. "The Salvation Army has always relied on the generosity of local residents to help us do our work, and we are making a special plea at this time for support."

While food and clothing are always welcome, Brooks said what the organization needs most are monetary donations.

"This is the time of year that is traditionally financially slower. People go on vacations and do a number of things," Brooks said.

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He said many of the people the agency serves are low-income families whose food budgets stretch to the breaking point in the summer, when their children no longer receive free school lunches.

There also are unemployed people who have run through their savings while seeking new employment.

Brooks said awareness about the need to give goes up at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it is often overlooked during the summer months.

But the Salvation Army's many programs run year round, and Brooks said he has seen an increase in demand for services since Christmas.

He said the Salvation Army has added a second caseworker to deal with the number of requests for help, and they are working to shift the program to be more proactive.

"We want to be more proactive to help those who have been in the system a long time," he said.

He said he expects that additional attention will further draw on the resources of the Salvation Army.

While the Salvation Army is best know for its soup kitchen and holiday food baskets, it also provides clothing for the needy, shelter for the homeless and counseling. Many of the shelters offer addiction recovery programs.

Last year the familiar Red Kettle Christmas Campaign provided food, toys and support services to more than 2,175 individuals and families during the holidays.

Other programs aided more than 10,000, while 33,000 meals were served through its lunch program in 2001.

The Salvation Army needs monetary donations, although it does take nonperishable food donations all year long. Brooks said it won't be long until volunteers start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets.

Donations can be mailed to or dropped off at: The Salvation Army, 159 Lincoln Way West, Chambersburg, PA 17201.

Because of its reliance on volunteers, Brooks said the Salvation Army is able to spend 86 cents of every $1 donated directly on its programs. The remaining 14 cents goes toward administration, building upkeep and related expenses, Brooks said.

For information on volunteering with the Salvation Army, call 717-264-6169 or 717-264-7222.

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