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 www.SalArmyALM.org/give.