red kettle

The Salvation Army of Lake Charles’ annual Christmas Red Kettle drive raised $136,300 this past December. Despite COVID-19 weakening the non-profit’s volunteer base and the hurricane season’s devastation, Thomas Marion, lieutenant, said Lake Charles’ Christmas generosity actually surpassed the previous year’s $132,000 raised.

 Working with less time, locations and volunteers, Marion said he set an initial goal of $100,000. After far surpassing the goal, he said the community’s response is a reflection of the true spirit of the region.

 “I just believe Southwest Louisiana is a very giving community. They saw us during the hurricane feeding people, being out in the public and making sure people were taken care of. It was the community giving back to us just as we gave to them.”

 Marion added that many more donors took advantage of The Salvation Army’s online giving, which routes directly to Southwest Louisiana, likely due to COVID-19 precautions, limited locations and convenience. Online giving totaled an additional $9,000 for the non-profit, as of his latest report, ranking the Lake Charles branch among one of the organization’s top fund raisers within the Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana region.

 In past years, funds from the red kettles have helped support The Salvation Army’s homeless shelter, Marion said. However, while the shelter is under repair from hurricane damage, the non-profit will shift its focus this year.

 “We have different needs in the community this year, so we’re going to funnel our money differently.”

 Next week Salvation Army will begin offering social services including assistance with bills and groceries. The non-profit will gradually grow its service offerings based on the expressed needs of the community.

 “People came in before and we didn’t have the finances to help them with certain things but now we can,” he explained.  

 At this time, Salvation Army’s expanded services may grow to include a prescription voucher program and fuel assistance program to meet  growing requests from community members. With 100 percent of donated funds remaining in region, Marion said, “the great thing about Salvation Army” is that it can nimbly adapt and meet the community’s needs.

 To learn more or donate visit

More from this section

  • Updated

Qualifying for the March 20 election has ended. The candidates who have signed up are listed, with incumbents marked by the letter “I”.

  • Updated

Disaster loans from the United States Small Business Association serve as an important lifeline for individuals and businesses recovering from the effects of recent hurricanes. Established by Congress in 1953, disaster loans are designed to fill the gaps between FEMA assistance and insurance…

  • Updated

The Calcasieu Parish School Board is exploring new options for providing online education to students. Karl Bruchhaus, superintendent, said the search for new products was birthed out of the sharp turn the district had to make last year when schools shut their doors abruptly in March due to …

  • Updated

The Louisiana Department of Education recently announced changes to the Child Care Assistance Program, which will give more families access to affordable early childcare education. Under the new provisions, income eligibility to participate in the program will increase to 200 percent of the …

  • Updated

 Tracking those in Calcasieu Parish who have struggled with homelessness has been a challenge for local agencies because the population remains scattered since Hurricanes Laura and Delta. Meanwhile, the agencies want to make sure residents who are working, but struggling to afford daily expe…

  • Updated

A former Calcasieu Parish gravity drainage district employee made unauthorized salary payments to herself, totaling $6,495.52, from July to August 2019, according to an audit released Monday by the state Legislative Auditor.