Salvation Army seeks donations, volunteers in Venango County

The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle bell ringing campaign is in full swing at several locations in Venango County.

The effort, which has a goal of raising $60,000 in Venango County, started Nov. 19 and runs through Dec. 24, Laura Dusenberry, the Salvation Army coordinator in Venango County, said.

So far, as of Wednesday, the Red Kettle drive has raised $25,745 in the county, Dusenberry said.

She added that people can also donate digitally as there is a QR code on the Red Kettle signs, and donations can be made online too.

Proceeds raised go to providing food distributions at Christmas as well as to local Salvation Army programs such as its feeding and afterschool programs and the financial assistance the agency provides to those in need, Dusenberry said.

She added the Salvation Army has seen a significant increase in the county over the past year of people who need help with utilities and rent.

Between its mobile food canteen in Franklin and meal center in Oil City on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Dusenberry said the Salvation Army is giving out about 900 to 1,000 meals a week.

“We try to prepare hot, nutritious meals,” Dusenberry said.

She added that there have been a number of challenges this year.

The flu season has been “really rough on a lot of folks” and a number of people who were scheduled to ring bells for the Salvation Army got sick or their families got sick and the weather has been particularly wet this year, Dusenberry said.

Also, some stores have gone to no solicitation policies, so the Salvation Army isn’t allowed to ring bells there. And that is on top of the fact the agency was already limited as to where it could ring bells because so many retail stores have left the area, Dusenberry said.

Locations where the bell ringers are stationed in the county include Sander’s Market in Franklin, Walmart and the Cranberry Mall.

Dusenberry said the Salvation Army can always use more volunteer bell ringers and that groups, service organizations, churches, individuals and families are all welcome.

Regular, long term volunteers are all required to get their clearances, she said.

People interested in volunteering can call the Salvation Army at (814) 677-4056.


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