This holiday season, make a difference

NW Staff

We’ve all seen them. Those poor souls standing outside local supermarkets, wearing red and shaking that infernal bell. Those Salvation Army volunteers who attempt to convince busy passers-by to donate a few spare coins to help their cause.

Oftentimes, shoppers are in a hurry or don’t have any small bills to donate, and dip their heads low and try to avoid the volunteer’s piercing gaze. This year those poor souls should be you.

This holiday season, organizations like the Salvation Army need help more than ever. With food banks in the U.P. serving more people every day, charities need help. And with a myriad of ways to donate, this year there’s no excuse to dodge the needs of the less fortunate.

For those who wish to donate something a little more tangible than money, the Ishpeming Salvation Army has also put out a call for toys to give to under privileged children. The Mining Journal’s “Cheer Club” also takes in toys, books and clothing for children up to 14 years old.

The Salvation Army is also seeking food products, more specifically turkeys to be donated for Christmas dinners. The Ishpeming Salvation Army typically gives away 250 turkeys for the holidays, but as of a week ago were still 100 turkeys short of the goal.

While food, money and toys are all needed donations, offering your time can also be a good way to show some holiday spirit. The Salvation Army is still looking for bell ringers to participate. Your student organization, house or coworkers can join forces to help the cause. If time is a factor, there are other ways to participate.

In 2008, the Salvation Army took its signature “red kettle” donation program online, making it possible to skip the pocket change and donate from the comfort of one’s home. Through social networking, it is also possible to do your part as a group.

This year, the Salvation Army has set a nationwide goal of $3 million. Currently, they have received only $371,000 –– only 12 percent of their total goal. By donating to Salvation Army and other similar charities, we can help make this holiday special for those who are struggling financially.

To get involved, call the Salvation Army at (906) 486-8121, St. Vincent de Paul at (906) 226-3721 or your local church. To set up a virtual red kettle, visit www.onlineredkettle.org.