Salvation Army kicks-off season of giving


By Sheryl Roadcap

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PIQUA — ‘Tis the season to kick-off The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle fundraising.

The Salvation Army in Piqua changed things up this year with its annual kick-off by holding its first annual Red Kettle Kick-Off Luncheon. The luncheon, of which nearly 100 people attended, was held at the Piqua Country Club on Thursday, Nov. 9. The event included music, a meal and a “time of giving and sharing.”

“We are grateful that you came and we are grateful that you attended,” Piqua Salvation Army Major Angie Carter said to those in attendance at the top of the event. “Thank you to our board for all the work they have put into this and for the help they have given to us and guiding us to get this event together.”

The purpose of the luncheon was to raise funds to help support the many programs held by the Salvation Army throughout the year. The event was sponsored by Collins Aerospace so that all funds raised will go to the Red Kettle fundraiser.

“This is about the beginning of our Christmas program, our red bell ringing. A lot of people think that the Salvation Army rings bells, and we do, but many people doon’t know all the things The Salvation Army does do in the community,” Carter said.

The Salvation Army’s programs include the Christmas Joy Shop, for the giving toys and food to over 300 children and their families; a hygiene pantry, that serves the community with taxable items; utility assistance, to help prevent the shut off of utilities for families; and the summer lunch program, which serves more than 16,000 meals to children in need.

“We are a faith-based organization,” Carter said, “and my husband (Piqua Salvation Army Major Herb Carter) and I are the administrators as well as the pastors of our church, so we wear a couple of different hats. We have regular church services, Bible studies, and the like. We also have a hygiene pantry. … because there are so many food pantries in town, we wanted to provide a different need. … We also provide financial assistance to help people pay their utilities. And a program many have heard of, the summer lunch program…”

Angie gave background information on each program and explained the significance the funds raised plays in the community. She said in 2022, the Christmas Joy Shop in Piqua provided 1,840 toys and 1,420 clothing items to 368 children for Christmas. Marks Bike Drive, an annual drive to raise money to purchase bikes for kids, donated 353 bikes; and 385 area seniors received socks, blankets and puzzles. Food gift cards, for meat, fresh food and boxes of perishables, were given to 156 families, she said, which included a total of 625 people for holiday meats.

The Salvation Army of Piqua’s hygiene pantry provided more than 1,176 people in 2022 with taxable items, such as toiletries and cleaning supplies that cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits.

The guest speaker for the event was Shannon Clark, owner of Color Vibe Salon in Troy, who established her business in March 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clark is a past recipient of the Christmas program, and this motivated her to reach out to The Salvation Arm to establish an Angel Tree at her business. The Angel Tree contains angles on the tree containing the names of children or families in need that may be adopted to receive anonymous gifts for Christmas. Through tears, Clark shared her story and thanked those who contribute to The Salvation Army. She explained how she felt as a child to receive the gifts and the importance she feels in the need to give back.

“Every year, the holidays were not much to look forward to, as I didn’t have a normal family life. Christmas was always talked about by others as a magical time, but as a child, I never really understood that magic and honestly never knew what the holidays would look like for us,” said Clark, speaking about she and her younger sister’s experience. “You learn very quickly that Santa isn’t real.”

She noted that she learned as time went on that they received gifts from a pro9gram through The Salvation Army, and this has driven her since she was 18 years old to want to give to other children in need each year.

After Clark shared her story, Craig Smith, from Collin Aerospace, briefly spoke and then attendees were given an opportunity to donate funds to the cause. Each table featured a red kettle as the centerpiece and guests placed their cash or checks, or used the QR code on the card attached to the red kettle, to donate.

Volunteers will be out in the community ringing the bell next to each of Salvation Army’s red kettles, and if passersby do not have cash on them, they may also scan the QR code provided at each red kettle to make a donation. Others who wish to donate may do so by mailing a monetary contribution to The Salvation Army, 129 S. Wayne St., Piqua, OH, 45356.

Angel tree donations of new, unwrapped gifts are being accepted until Dec. 12, to allow for adequate time to distribute the gifts. Adopt-a-family drop-offs are on Dec. 11. The Salvation Army is still accepting volunteer bell ringers. For more information on donating or volunteering, call 937-773-7563.

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