Sedalians will start seeing those familiar red kettles next week for the Salvation Army Service Center of Sedalia’s annual Red Kettle Campaign.
From Monday through Christmas Eve, shoppers at JCPenney’s, Woods, Walgreens, Walmart, Kmart and Hobby Lobby will see local volunteers ringing bells and asking for donations to Salvation Army, which will help fund several services.
However, the Service Center’s Christmas Cheer campaign consists of more than just red kettles. Last year, Salvation Army helped more than 750 individuals and families with holiday meals and toys, and this year’s goal is to serve more than 800, according to a news release. Citizens can help in a number of ways, such as adopting a family for the holidays.
“You say adopt a family, some people just want to adopt maybe a senior citizen or just a couple, or they want a single person with one or two kids, or some of them want a large family if it’s a business,” Social Work Director Cynthia Hopper said. “We let them pick what they want and what they’re able to do and we match them up. Everything is kept anonymous.”
For those who want to donate Christmas gifts but can’t afford to help an entire family, Angel Trees are already located at CVS, Walmart, Kmart and Menard’s. Angel Trees are decorated with paper ornaments with gift requests written on them. Simply pick one, or a few, purchase the specified item and drop it back off at the tree. Hopper said if more businesses would like to host an Angel Tree, Salvation Army will set up and take down the tree and handle picking up the gifts.
To help spread Christmas cheer, Breakfast with Santa will be hosted Dec. 6 and Dec. 8 for 100 Sedalia students and Sedalia Salvation Army staff will visit Sedalia nursing homes Dec. 20.
“We take everybody a gift and we usually sing Christmas carols, spread some Christmas cheer,” Hopper said of the nursing home visits.
For those who are looking to receive holiday assistance from Salvation Army, they need to stop by the Service Center and bring a photo ID, proof of household members, such as a Social Security card, proof of income and proof of address. Food basket distribution will be Dec. 13 and food and toys distribution will be Dec. 14-15 at the Service Center.
Those who receive holiday assistance will receive food for a “nice ham dinner,” Hopper said, plus a voucher to the Salvation Army Thrift Store. A true example of the generous holiday season, Hopper said many recipients don’t use the voucher for themselves.
“In the past, I had people that would come back to say they used the voucher to buy a Christmas gift for someone else because they didn’t have the money to buy them something,” she said. “I thought that was so neat, they got to go and buy something.”
Families with children will also receive food and the parents will get to walk through Toyland to select gifts.
“I like the idea of Toyland because you know what your child likes,” Hopper said. “… They can select the things they want for their kids, take it home, wrap it. It’s like they went shopping for their own kids and we like that idea — it’s not about us giving, it’s about them having something to give.”
More bell ringers are still needed, as well as volunteers for a variety of Christmas Cheer activities. For more information about volunteering or receiving assistance, stop by the Salvation Army Service Center of Sedalia at 1200 E. Broadway Blvd. or call 660-826-1525. The Service Center is open 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.