Salvation Army far from goal

Published 8:00 am Thursday, December 23, 2010

Many children and families will have food on the table and presents under the tree this Christmas, but the need is far from filled.

More than 1,300 children were signed up — up from 1,100 last year — when the Salvation Army gave out the toys from its annual Angel Tags drive.

“I really think it’s great,” said John Krones, who picked out toys for his 1-year-old daughter, Jaidyn, and 5-year-old, Serenity.

John and Tammy Krones pick out toys for their 17-month-old daughter Jaidyn at Oak Park Mall Wednesday. - Jason Schoonover/

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While the Salvation Army is serving more and more families this holiday season, its overall donations for the annual holiday drive is at least $30,000 behind average, according to Major Marlys Anderson.

The Salvation Army has raised a total of about $70,000 — $31,000 from the Red Kettle Drive — so far this year, which is lagging behind its $136,000 goal.

“There’s a lot of urgent need out there that we’re constantly being bombarded with,” Anderson said. “It would make it a lot easier if we made our goal.”

The holiday drive, which lasts through Jan. 15, makes up more than 20 percent of the Salvation Army’s annual budget. If it falls short of the goal, Anderson said she’d have to redo her budget in January and make cuts.

“It becomes a real battle to make sure we can do as much as we can with as little as we have,” Anderson said.

The weather put them behind their goal for the Red Kettle Drive


While the Salvation Army is behind in raising money, it’s received enough food and toys for its Angel Tree drive and Feed a Family.

People or organizations can pick up an angel tag, which gives a wish list and clothing items for the children. Families picked up those toy items Wednesday, and other families were able to pick up toys, too.

“There’s a huge need,” she said. “We had at least 200 more kids sign up.”

McMahon was thankful they’ve been able to get more toys than needed.

“We have been very blessed, though. We haven’t had to turn away a child because we didn’t have anything,” she said. “We do actually have a bit of a surplus.”

While there’s a surplus now, McMahon was briefly worried they wouldn’t have enough toys, but many toys came in at the last minute.

Salvtion Army volunteer Bonnie Newell passes food to another volunteer at Hy-Vee Wednesday morning during distribution for Feed a Family. - Jason

Surplus toys will be used during the year in case there’s a fire or other disaster, and the rest will be stored and given away next year.


About 750 families picked up food at Hy-Vee as part of Feed a Family, which Hy-Vee puts on each year for the Salvation Army.

“We’re making sure that every single person has food, and they have a great holiday,” said Store Manager Todd Hepler, who noted they served about 100 more families than last year.

Hepler said the need has almost doubled since the drive started a few years ago. This year, he estimated the store distributed more than $25,000 worth of food.

“Obviously we’re into food,” Hepler said. “I feel we have a responsibility to our community that, when it comes to the holidays, we step up to the plate.”

Each family receives the same basket of food: a 5 pound ham, Mrs. Gerry’s mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, corn, a pumpkin pie, Sarah Lee dinner rolls, a pound of butter and candy canes.

Despite the turbulent economy, Feed a Family also had a surplus, and Hepler said about $4,000 in extra food was donated to the Salvation Army Food Bank.

Filling in the holes

In fact, Anderson said their pantry has plenty of food now, though they can always use more.

Anderson is contacting donors to try and meet their goal by Jan. 15. While she was thankful to the donors, she asked that people continue to give if they are able.

“We’re real grateful for everything that is given, and we just hope they can because there’s a high need,” she said.