Salvation Army in need of volunteers ahead of holidays
Shoppers will soon start to hear the sounds of the Salvation Army bell ringers as the annual Red Kettle donation campaign kicks off. The Syracuse Salvation Army needs 1,000 volunteers to help them reach a $200,000 goal.
Linda Lopez, the executive director for community services at the Salvation Army in Syracuse, said the volunteers are an iconic part of the holiday season.
“I think that it’s a really important piece of the Christmas fabric in our community,” Lopez said. “People like that the money stays local. It’s a fun way for companies or groups or clubs or faith communities to do something together.”
She said although the number of volunteers dipped during the COVID-19 pandemic, more people seem to be willing to volunteer in more recent seasons.
“I think certainly during the COVID years and the year coming out of COVID people were more reticent,” Lopez said. “You see that in the amount of people who are in the mall or in stores. I think that has picked back up and so I think people are more willing to come out and volunteer in public places than maybe they were when they were a little more worried about COVID.”
It’s a good thing. Lopez said community needs have only increased, making the donations that much more valuable.
“We’re seeing lots of families in the food pantry, lots of families who have never had to come before to the food pantry,” Lopez said. “And most of them are working and they just need some help making ends meet.”
Only 15-16% percent of the volunteer slots are currently filled, Lopez expects that number to increase as the month progresses.