ALPENA -Winter is a taxing time for those who are struggling to make ends meet, and rely on the assistance of the Salvation Army. As a result the charitable organization is experiencing a shortage in funds that it makes available to help those in need, as well as inventory for the local Salvation Army store in Alpena. In order to increase merchandise at the store and raise funds to help those in need the Salvation Army is asking for the public's support.
Store Manager Jeanne Guy said the number of families in Alpena County who request assistance is still very high. She said the store inventory needs a boost because much of it was depleted during the Christmas season.
"We really need clothes, any size of kids clothes that are in good condition. They can be summer, winter or spring, we need them," Guy said. "We also need household items, furniture, we need just about everything."
News Photo by Steve Schulwitz
Jeanne Guy and Maj. Craig Stoker of the Salvation Army arrange some women’s clothing at the store on Monday. The Salvation Army store is asking the public for donation of clothes and money to help the needy in Alpena County this winter. Stoker said as many as 50 families ask for assistance with utility bills, rent or food each week.
Maj. Craig Stoker said as the area continues to struggle with a high unemployment rate and an overall challenging economic climate, the store and the other services the Salvation Army provides has been very active. He said as a result, money is needed as well as clothing donations.
"Everything we are presented with from donations remains in Alpena County and there is still a lot of need here," Stoker said. "We interview between 40 and 50 families a week that ask for help with utilities, rent or to pay for prescriptions or food. Most of the people who come to us are for food, so the need in Alpena County is still very great."
Stoker said before the holidays, the Salvation Army set a goal of $166,900, but the goal was not met. In all $159,000 was collected. He said that is a good amount of money, but it puts the organization behind for 2013.
"When we fall short it means we are going to have to make that the difference in that amount up during the year, so we can always use cash donations," Stoker said. "All of the other organizations need funds as well and people have to pick and choose where they give, so there isn't enough money to go around for everyone. A lot of the programs the government used to fund, the amounts are being reduced and it leaves them to have to go to the community for donations."
Stoker said the people in Alpena have always been big supporters of the Salvation Army and other organizations similar to it. He said the community rallies to help provide what is needed.
"When we put out the word for donations the community responds and are very generous," Stoker said. "The thing is there are only so many places people can afford to give. We are seeing the donations, it is just that the needs are so great and every year they seem to increase."
The Salvation Army store will be accepting donations that can be dropped off at the store, or people who have large donations, such as furniture, can call 356-4419 and a truck will pick up the items. Guy said clothes that are donated should not have stains or tears in them, because then they have to discard them and there is a cost to the organization to do so.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5689.