Salvation Army uses holiday season to prepare giving back to the Wiregrass year round

The Salvation Army gives back year-round, but uses the holiday season to encourage people to put their motto of “doing the most good” at the forefront.
Wiregrass Gives Back: Salvation Army gives back to the Wiregrass
Updated: Dec. 8, 2022 at 3:00 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - December is the time to celebrate giving, and one well-known nonprofit offers many ways for people to join them in helping those in need. The Salvation Army gives back year-round, but uses the holiday season to encourage people to put their motto of “doing the most good” at the forefront.

One way the Salvation Army gives back is their red kettle campaign, which is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year. It raises funds to fuel their mission of helping those in need in the Wiregrass during the holidays and into their Spring assistance programs.

“We are Christians who want to help our community because we are called as Christians to help, and one of the ways we can help is to be that conduit between those who aren’t quite sure how they can help their community but want to, and those who need the help,” Major Linda Payton, Salvation Army Officer, said.

A calling Major Payton has been answering for decades by being a part of a generational tradition of serving. She has been a Salvation Army officer for 31 years and plans to continue.

The Salvation Army provides utility and food assistance for those in need. They also occasionally help with mortgage and travel expenses.

“The importance of knowing you are helping those in your community when you can, because most of us understand that sometimes we find ourselves in the need of that help,” Major Payton said. “Community helping community is the best way of taking care of each other.”

The holiday season is when the community bands together to give back the most in supporting the Salvation Army through the red kettle campaign. This year, their goal is to raise $120,000 dollars. That would fund their services for the upcoming year. It’s a goal that wouldn’t be possible without not only the donors, but the bellringers.

“We really need those bell ringers, very much so,” Major Payton said.

Bell ringers like Cynthia Franz.

“I just love this organization, I always have,” Franz said.

Franz has been familiar with the Salvation Army since she was a child.

“When I was a child, I was a product of the Salvation Army,” Franz said.

She has always had a drive to give back to her community, and is now doing so by donating her time.

“I thought, ‘Well if I’m going to volunteer, I need to pick an organization that I know is going to help the community,’ and I know that the Salvation Army does,” Franz said.

The Salvation Army continues to make an impact on children’s lives. One way is through its Angel Tree program. Families in need can apply to have their children’s wishes fulfilled on Christmas morning.

“We just try to give them something for Christmas, we don’t, most of it, we don’t do it ourselves, we actually depend heavily on the community,” Major Payton said.

This year, that community dependence remains with about 750 angels signed up for adoption.

“Some of them come from very good families who are working hard and just can’t make ends meet,” Major Payton said. “Others come from families that are dysfunctional and if it weren’t for these Angel Tree gifts, they would not have a Christmas.”

Your donation may even spark a giving heart in someone else.

“There are now adults who received Angel Tree gifts as a child that they are now buying Angel Trees because they know how much it changed their life when they were children,” Major Payton said.

Major Payton said there are still about 100 angels still needing adoption. 79 have been returned with their gifts, and the organization is still waiting on the other 580 to be returned. December 13th is the day they need all Angel Tree donations back, so they have time to process the gifts and have them ready for distribution day.

When it comes to the red kettle campaign, the Salvation Army is $75,000 shy of their goal. To put the importance of making monetary donations in perspective, this time last year they were about $13,000 behind. There are 16 days left to donate and help the Salvation Army reach their goal.

There are several options to join the Salvation Army’s mission in giving back, whether it is monetary donations or donating your time. The Salvation Army is in need of bellringers and Angel Tree program volunteers.

To sign up as a volunteer or adopt an angel, you can call the office at (334)792-1911.

Click here to donate online.

All monetary donations to the Salvation Army stay in the Wiregrass.

Click here to adopt an angel online.

Angel Trees are located in the Salvation Army Office, Wiregrass Commons Mall, Dove Christian Supply Store and both the North and South Walmart to adopt an angel in person.

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