Volunteers with red kettles are wearing sunscreen instead of Santa hats this month as they raise awareness and donations for the Salvation Army.
“Christmas in July” marks the first time the kettles have been out in the summer, said Lewiston Salvation Army Lt. David Aycock, because “need knows no season.”
“We’re trying to raise awareness that needs are growing in terms of housing, food, shelter and programs for our youth,” Aycock said. “We’ve had some really good response from the community, which we’re thrilled about.”
Volunteers are helping with the effort from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays at Rosauers in Lewiston and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays at the Clarkston Walmart.
“We have great helpers like Jeff Goodson, who has been ringing bells for us in the winter for 16 years,” Aycock said. “He was excited to do it for the first time in the summer.”
A free community barbecue will be a highlight of the summer campaign at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Salvation Army headquarters, 1220 21st St. in Lewiston. Information about the services provided by the organization will be available, and donations will be accepted.
“The whole month has been devoted to raising awareness,” Aycock said. “We are reminding people we’re still working hard to meet needs, but we can’t do it without the community. The Lewiston-Clarkston Valley has been a blessing and essential in helping meet those needs.”
A soup kitchen provides free “health-conscious” meals four evenings a week to folks who may be homeless or living paycheck to paycheck. The meals are served from 5 to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Salvation Army.
In addition, the Salvation Army offers after-school programs for kids during the school year to help teach them life skills. Other services such as laundry, showers, food boxes, clothing and referrals to social services are available throughout the year to anyone in need.
The recent closure of the ROC homeless shelter in North Lewiston has increased the number of people seeking those services from the Salvation Army, but Aycock said that’s OK, because that’s what they are here for.
“If people are in need, we will serve them to the best of our abilities,” Aycock said. “We’re here and we have a ministry to do. We love to do these programs and social services for the community, but we still have to pay the bills and that’s difficult to do when resources dwindle. The donations we receive are put to good use. They not only keep the lights on, but help with programs that go straight back out to the community.”
Sandaine may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2264. Follow her on Twitter @newsfromkerri.