HOPE MARCHES ON: Salvation Army rings in holiday season with red kettle kickoff event

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — In tough times, providing hope means helping those in need with food and shelter for The Salvation Army of the Midlands.

“William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army once said, ‘You cannot warm the hearts of people with God’s love if they have an empty stomach and cold feet,” said Mary Sesler, Salvation Army board chair.

Last year because of the pandemic, there were fewer red kettles out in front of stores than usual.

“This year, we are back out in full force so that we meet our goal of 325 thousand dollars that the Salvation Army raises to help families out in the Midlands,” said Major Mark Craddock of The Salvation Army of the Midlands.

One local business owner gave $125,000 at Monday’s kickoff event.

“The reason we do so is because it’s a privilege to give to the group we believe does the most good right here in our community,” said business owner JT Gandolfo.

The Salvation Army hopes to reach its goal in small increments through everyone in the community’s help.

“Those red kettles that raise $325,000 do that one dollar at a time. These are not large checks. People give their pocket and spare change,” Craddock said. “Also this year, all of those kettles has a QR code reader on it. You can take a picture with your phone and donate.”

If you are not planning on going out to stores, you can give online using the virtual red kettle or help an individual child.

“All year long, these red kettles help the Salvation Army provide housing and food stability for families. We also invest in education in our elementary kids specifically in reading and math,” the major said. “We send kids to camp in the summer outside their zip code so they have new experiences there.”

The Salvation Army of the Midlands also helps those in need with the assistance of other organizations.

“We house at Transitions. Our partners at the Salvation Army are running the kitchen that brings food and meals to everyone that we serve,” said Craig Currey, Transitions CEO. “It is a tremendous ministry on their part and we’re grateful for their cooperation and their help.”

To help this ministry, the Salvation Army is asking for volunteers as they have seen a shortage this year. 

However, Major Craddock does not doubt that the community will step up to help.

“This is my 9th Salvation Army appointment as an officer,” Craddock said. “The generosity of the Midlands community is overwhelming to me.”

You can find out ways to donate as well as how and where to volunteer at the Salvation Army of the Midlands website.

Categories: Local News, Richland