Official: Salvation Army totals ‘better than expected’

By Jenna DeWitt: CNJ staff writer

The Salvation Army wrapped up the year “better than expected” according to Maj. Tammy Ray.

“Overall, we did really well,” Ray said. “The needs were met.”

Ray said the Angel Tree ministry was able to help 766 children from all 241 families who asked for assistance. The Salvation Army also distributed food to 352 senior citizens.

“People are particularly generous at Christmas time,” Ray said. “They truly give from their hearts, not from their wealth.”

Especially in the Empty Stocking Fund program, the economic hard times were reflected in an increased amount of need in the community.

Ray said while often hears negative stereotypes of the people they help, most often the recipients are hard working, but still unable to afford necessities.

“We have seen people that are truly working hard, but it’s just not enough,” Ray said. “The majority of ours are families doing everything they can to make ends meet.”

Empty Stocking Fund donations totaled $8,984 — an increase of $1,544 from last year.

Ray said the most unexpected generosity, however, was through the Red Kettle program with the donation of several gold and silver coins, worth approximately $10,000.

Two gold coins were dropped in a red kettle Dec. 16 at Wal-Mart in Clovis. Another donation of gold and silver coins was discovered Dec. 18 at Walgreen’s in Clovis.

Without the coins, Red Kettle donations were $26,432 — down $11, 220 from the previous year.

As of yet, no special plans have been made for the extra funds, except for incorporation in the general ministry funds. Ray said the Salvation Army is seeking an appraisal for the coins and will find a liquidator.

Red Kettle funds are typically used for the general operating fund.

Ray said the organization works to maintain local support so money donated in Clovis goes to Clovis residents in need. Since the post is part of a national organization, some donations will go to a larger cause as well.

“It’s all for the general betterment of the community. We try to make it go as far as possible,” Ray said. “The way it works is that it all stays local, but we pay a tithe — 10 percent — to our headquarters. So we are actually helping to support the national instead of the national supporting us.”

In addition to unexpected monetary gifts, time was also donated. Local businesses took on manning kettles, some of their employees devoting their entire workdays to them.

Donations to the Salvation Army through the Empty Stocking Fund and Clovis Red Kettles:

Empty Stocking Fund Red Kettles Total

2006 $7,026 $31,000 $38,026

2007 $10,228 $36, 273 $46,501

2008 $7,440 $37,652 $45,092

2009 $8,984 $26,432 $35,416