This year, the Salvation Army provided toys, clothing, and food for more than 1,100 children in Horry County. And it looks like 2,000 people in the area donated items to be given away this year. The Christmas Kettle Campaign is the largest one-time fundraising event for the Salvation Army. And those funds to make a huge difference during Christmas time. This year, the Salvation Army had around 300 of its Angle Tree kids not returned. So with the funds they raised, they were able to go out and purchase gifts for those 300 kids to make sure that no one went without presents.
But those funds raised through the Red Kettle Campaign go well into the New Year to support other programs and efforts. The funds help operate the Boys and Girls Club. The funds also make a huge impact on the low-income community through their social services office. That office helps provide people with food, helps people with their utility and electricity and water bills. The office also helps provide people with clothing. And the funds also help provide furniture and household items for anyone who has lost a home to a fire. All the funds that are raised here in the Red Kettle Campaign stay local to help those in Horry County. The director thinks a lot of times we don't realize just how big of an impact your donation can make. The Salvation Army is seeing that as our economy is still in difficult times, that the people coming to them needing help live in communities that you might not expect they need help.
"The response that we have seen over this last year has been amazing. And we finished the year with a shining start with the Kettle campaign and the Christmas effort. And we look forward to expanding our services here. Making sure that the individuals that are in need in our community receive the help that they need," said Angela Repass, with the Salvation Army of Horry County.
The Salvation Army is still in need of donations to help fund many of its programs that function throughout the year. And the thrift stores definitely need donations. It's been so warm, that it's easy to forget not many kids or even adults in this area have good winter coats. So as we get deeper into the winter, the cold can come as a shock and be dangerous to a lot of kids in need. When folks are in need of clothing – whether it's every day clothing or a coat – you are welcome to come to the Salvation Army thrift stores. Anyone can buy things there. But if are having financial trouble, the Salvation Army gives you a voucher to use at their thrift stores. The director says they would rather do that than just hand you a coat from a stockroom of donations. She says for clients to have that voucher gives them some ownership. They now have the opportunity to go pick some clothing that fits them perfectly and suits them.
"We want to just encourage them to have that responsibility and that opportunity to choose for themselves. So when you donate items to us, whether it be coats or clothing, it goes to our thrift store. It also is making an impact on our community."
All of your donations – whether monetary through the Red Kettle campaign or clothing donations – it all stays local in Horry County. And the proceeds from all the thrift stores go to supporting all the other Salvation Army programs in Horry County. You can go to the local Horry County Salvation Army's website to find more information about all the different locations to make donations and different opportunities the organization offers to the community.
The Salvation Army always need volunteers throughout the year. Especially with the Boys and Girls Club. Volunteering there gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child over the course of time. They have kids that need one-on-one teaching and tutoring. And they also need volunteers who are interested in serving on their disaster response team. The Salvation Army has a mobile feeding unit that was recently used during the October floods. They need folks who are looking to get trained to work and serve on that truck when a disaster happens. And they are also looking for people who are willing to volunteer in the food pantry. You would be pre-packing bags of food so that they are ready for when clients come in need of assistance.
You can always keep up to date with what the Salvation Army is doing with the Horry County's command Facebook page. They also post volunteer opportunities on that page.