While holiday spending may have been strong locally in the days before Christmas, donations contributed through area Salvation Army kettles were down significantly in 2012, according to Maj. Darrell Kingsbury.
“We were down $9,000 from last year, which puts us $13,000 below our goal for this year,” the Ashland Salvation Army director reported in the hours before people began counting down for the new year. “Now we just have to figure out how to live with what we’ve got.”
Despite the diminished resources, Kingsbury said the need for Salvation Army resources continues to grow.
“Demand is up, yes,” he said, explaining he was out of town although keeping a close check on a local weather forecast calling for low temperatures and bitter winter winds.
“With the weather, I’m sure our shelters are full,” Kingsbury said, citing often-overlooked shelter expenses including food and utilities.
Along with decreased donations, Kingsbury said the local Salvation Army also did not receive funds from a state emergency-solutions grant to help offset operational expenses during the current budget year. The local Salvation Army board of directors has already taken action to reduce expenses, he said, although he expects the group will have to make even more tough decisions in the days ahead.
Kingsbury said the Salvation Army provides services and resources many in the community may be unaware of.
“Of course, the shelter is what we are best known for,” he said, listing additional resources provided including a food pantry and clothing store, as well as rent and utility programs.
“The object is to spend money to prevent homelessness, but we have to spend money to keep the shelters open,” he said.
Kingsbury said several community organizations have provided a tremendous boost for local Salvation Army operations by sponsoring an evening meal on designated evenings for people at the shelters. Some purchase pizza, he said, while others provide homemade meals such as chili.
“Anyone who wants to help can call or drop by,” he said. “Volunteers are always needed.”
For more information about Ashland area Salvation Army programs or volunteer opportunities call (606) 329-2874.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at