Salvation Army to launch campaignThe influx of people seeking jobs in western North Dakota has changed the focus of Salvation Army’s mission here. Known for its relief services during disasters, the Salvation Army is responding to basic human needs.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
The influx of people seeking jobs in western North Dakota has changed the focus of Salvation Army’s mission here.
Known for its relief services during disasters, the Salvation Army is responding to basic human needs.
“People are needing showers because they are living in cars,” said Cheryl Petterson, western North Dakota field representative. “They have no winter coats or socks. We get requests for tents and sleeping bags, besides the regular requests for gas or medical.”
Last year, the Salvation Army raised $20,000 in Dickinson. The goal is to reach $25,000.
Ninety percent of what is raised in Stark County stays in the county in the form of services, Petterson said.
Services include laundry soap and dish soap for the Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center, and toiletry items distributed through the Sunrise Youth Bureau.
“We always need coats for kids — actually, I just got a request for snow pants, boots and a coat,” Petterson said. “You never know what you’re going to get.”
Living in Dickinson, Petterson supervises 22 counties in western North Dakota and two food pantries.
“I receive at least 10 contacts per month — it’s always busy,” she said. “Of course we get numerous calls for shelter, but it’s not anything we can do about right now.”
This spring, she worked 14 days with disaster relief during the Minot flood. Other services include support of youth camps, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, homeless services, elderly and Christmas charities.
The Salvation Army is about to launch its annual bell-ringing campaign featuring free-standing kettles and counter kettles. The campaign starts the day after Thanksgiving and continues through Christmas Eve day.
“Basically, we need bell ringers,” said Petterson. “A bell ringer can be anybody, even a child with an adult. We have a lot of Boy Scouts. Evergreen (assisted care facility) brings down their residents and staff.”
Petterson’s granddaughter, Cynthia, 8, has been ringing bells for the last four years. She will take a turn again this season.
“It’s fun — we wish everyone a Merry Christmas, but we don’t ask for money,” she said.
Helen Koffler, Running’s Farm and Fleet head cashier, helped set up a kettle in the store.
“They’ve been ringing bells here for 10 years for sure,” she said. “It’s just such a worthwhile cause — it’s to support the community.”
Nancy Hoff, bell ringing chairperson, is looking for volunteers to ring the bells for an hour at any of Dickinson’s three sites — Prairie Hills Mall, Running’s Farm and Fleet and outside of Walmart. The designated times are Friday afternoons and all day on Saturdays.
“We’re certainly willing to work with whatever time they wish to volunteer,” Hoff said.
Approximately 100 volunteers helped last year. They consisted of families, individuals, youth groups, businesses and fraternal organizations. For example, the Realtors have picked their day to ring bells — Dec. 9, while the Every Day Heroes Day is Dec. 17.
“We’d love to get more families,” she said. “It’s a great way to teach children about charitable giving and helping others out.”
To volunteer, contact Hoff at 701-483-9164 and leave a message.
To learn more about the Salvation Army, visit the website at www.salvationarmyusa.org.