The Salvation Army is taking applications for Christmas assistance from residents of Sedgwick County. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 23 for holiday assistance programs which include the Angel Tree which provides gifts for children aged 14 and younger and the Star of Hope which helps senior citizens and special needs families and individuals with needed household items.
It means the familiar sight of Bell Ringers will soon be visible at malls and stores throughout the Wichita area. Last year, the increase in need was such that donations barely kept up with the requests and need is expected to be even greater this year. Have some change ready to drop in the kettle, it is one of the simplest ways to give and whether you drop in a quarter, a dollar or more, the Red Kettle campaign generates much needed funds. This year you can even set up a virtual Red Kettle of your own to encourage friends and family to donate to through Facebook and other social media.
“Our need for volunteers increases exponentially during the holidays,” said Craig Plank, director of development and communications. “From bell ringers to interviewing families who apply for assistance, distributing assistance packages on Dec. 16 when we’ll have 3,000 families come through to wrapping gifts for the Angel Tree recipients, there are many ways to volunteer.”
Besides donations, the Salvation Army can always use additional volunteers this time of year. Consider giving a gift of your time to help The Salvation Army meet the needs in the community if you aren’t financially able to give funds. As Plank put it, “there are many ways someone can give.”
Angel Tree locations this year include both Towne East and Towne West malls and Exploration Place. You can also select an angel and purchase their gift online in a new addition to Angel Tree through the national office of The Salvation Army and JC Penney. Time can often be a factor in selection of an Angel Tree child and gift, so the online option has been added in the hopes that more children can be served.
While Plank said that it was not yet clear how much the need would be up this year over last year, which saw a large jump in requests, he noted that this year the school supply program saw a 21% increase in requests for assistance to provide the supplies necessary for children to start school.
Applications for assistance can be filled out at the locations that follow and must be submitted by Nov. 23. Applicants should have proof of identity, income and address with them. While the majority of people who apply for and receive assistance fall into low income families, Plank said that they are aware that many people have struggled due to reduced income and you don’t know whether you would qualify for assistance if you don’t ask. For more information, contact The Salvation Army at 316-263-2769.
1739 S. Elpyco
Mon. – Fri., 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
West Orchard Corps
1910 S. Everett
Mon. – Fri., 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
350 N. Market
Mon., Wed. & Fri., 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Tues. & Thurs., 10:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Holiday programs are most prevalent this time of year, but The Salvation Army has year round programs that need support and volunteers every month. The youth residential program for at-risk children ages 10 ot 18 provides help to children who come into the program through the juvenile justice system. These young people learn that they can turn their lives around, skills to live on their own and to avoid returning to behavior that got them in trouble.
A variety of emergency social services provide help to families throughout the year including a homeless shelter for women and children, disaster relief, the collection and distribution of school supplies at the start of the school year and the Warm Hearts campaign to gather coats for families who can’t afford to purchase a warm coat for the winter. At the end of each month, The Salvation Army has a commodities day where families and individuals can come to get non-perishable groceries from the Army’s pantry. There’s also assistance with paying utility bills, even helping someone pay for the cost of repairing their car. Then there are Camp Hiawatha and Biddy Basketball, both programs to give children the opportunity to engage in activities to help them build self-confidence, build team work and have positive role models who encourage striving to to well in school as well as on the basketball court.