The Salvation Army of Mount Vernon provided some local service statistics for 2018:
– 2,248 families to date served with food and/or financial assistance;
– 28 families assisted with rent or mortgage;
– 66 families assisted with a utility shut-off;
– 6 families assisted with emergency lodging;
– 52,974 meals provided through the food pantry;
– 7,595 meals served through hot meals;
-116 days of tutoring offered through the Learning Zone.
MOUNT VERNON — The Salvation Army of Mount Vernon set a goal of $70,000 during their Red Kettle Campaign Kick-Off Breakfast held Tuesday morning at Salvation Army headquarters on East Ohio Avenue.
Red Kettles, both large and small, will be in place this weekend, with dozens of volunteer bell ringers ready to take donations and even more volunteers needed. The Salvation Army of Mount Vernon provides year-round assistance through community hot meals each Thursday, a food pantry open three days per week, emergency housing assistance and an After School Learning Zone serving more than 60 children in grades K-5.
“I don’t turn anybody out the door without food,” Salvation Army Social Services Director Amber Brady said before the breakfast.
“The funds collected (from the Red Kettle Campaign) are used to help our families in need right here in Knox County,” said Salvation Army Lt. Megan Ashcraft, who thanked local businesses and organizations by name that provide financial resources and volunteers to the Salvation Army.
Words that describe the Salvation Army of Mount Vernon’s mission — words including joy, courage and serve, along with “doing the most good to the most people with the most need” — carry the weight of commitment. They do so based on strong Christian principles.
“Every year, at Christmas, I pick one word to keep in my mind, probably the only thing that keeps me reasonably sane,” said Salvation Army Maj. Alice Hathorn, now retired, who spent 42 years with the organization. “My word this year is ‘joy.’ First of all I picked it up out of a mail order catalog, and as I picked it up, was surprised to notice how many times that word has already been reiterated in the world around us. There’s lots of sadness, there’s lots of pain, there’s lots of chaos. But the thing that’s lasting is joy, joy in Jesus.”
Hathorn, who lives in Knox County now, said following the breakfast that the time she spent with the Salvation Army included more than eight years in New York, including a time when the nation was attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. She was living on West 14th Street, in an apartment above Salvation Army headquarters, and could see the smoke from one of the World Trade Center towers when it was struck by a jetliner. She and her fellow workers provided everything from food and counseling to those affected by the devastation — even foot massages for weary first responders as well as fresh socks.
“We just tried to meet any need that was required,” Hawthorne said.
Salvation Army Capt. Christine Moretz, who runs the day-to-day operations at the East Ohio Avenue site, offered that the work started by Salvation Army founder William Booth is more important than ever. Today’s society creates increasingly harsh realities facing those in most need, she believes. The Salvation Army and its officers think globally, stationed in 128 countries, while focusing locally, she offered.
“We’ve learned to look into the heart of people, people made in the image of God,” Moretz said. Helping people lead a better life by breaking cycles of destructive behavior is part of what the Salvation Army does, she added.
“Doing the most good to the most people with the most need, is the natural flow, and rhythm, and impulse, and the fruit of salvation clearly (in) example in an older expression of this Army: ‘Heart to God, and hand to man,’” Moretz said.
Moritz said a heart blessed with courage aspires to do the right thing for the right reasons at the right time. Part of that mission involves defending and providing help to those who have “lost hope in the field of fear.” Among the many area businesses and organizations on hand for Tuesday’s Red Kettle Cook-Off Breakfast were three representatives from CEC Credit Union, including CEO Sandy Coffing.
“We serve the community hot meal dinner once a week with five to eight people on our staff who volunteer,” she said. “We believe in giving back to our community.”
Brian Snow and his wife Melanie, of Mount Vernon, took part in Tuesday’s breakfast with their five children, all of whom volunteer as Red Kettle bell ringers. They also serve meals every Thursday. Their children range in age from Susannah, 6, the youngest Salvation Army bell ringer, to son Titus, 15.
“We like to serve others,” Brian said. “We teach our children that serving and giving back to other people is a good thing, the right thing to do.”
Maude Proper, the Salvation Army of Mount Vernon volunteer coordinator, said approximately 100 bell ringers will be volunteering starting this weekend, with shifts of two hours being most common. Red Kettle locations with bell ringers will be stationed at Walmart, Kroger, Baker’s IGA, Rural King, TSC and People’s Bank of Marietta. Mini-Kettle locations will be placed at more than a dozen businesses where patrons can deposit donations. Two local service organizations, Kiwanis and Rotary, will participate in a “Battle of the Bells” Dec. 1 at Walmart. Those interested in volunteering for Red Kettle duty may call (740) 392-8716, or go online: https://redkettlevolunteer.usaeast.org/