As snow begins to fall, many people bundle up for colder weather, begin the holiday decorating and baking and look forward to time spent with family and friends.
However, for far too many families the cold weather and holidays are not a time to rejoice.
“At The Salvation Army, we turn our attention to the tremendous need in our community for those less fortunate this holiday season,” said Captain Rachel Moore, Corps officer at the Batavia Salvation Army.
For many years, The Salvation Army has run a holiday fund, along with its Red Kettle drive and other holiday programs.
The holiday fund was an idea started by former Corps officer Major Leonard Boynton, to help “the neediest of the needy.”
This year, the holiday fund is being sponsored by The Batavian. Donations can be made payable to The Salvation Army and mailed or dropped off to:
The Salvation Army, 529 E. Main St., Batavia, NY 14020.
This year, The Salvation Army has already taken applications from 175 individuals for holiday assistance, and they anticipate serving 300 applicants (and their families) throughout the Batavia and Genesee County area, Captain Moore said.
“We rely on the giving hearts of those in our community to reach out and touch our families lives with hope this holiday,” she said. “Our annual Holiday Fund drive directly supports our Christmas efforts during the holiday season.”
One of The Salvation Army programs is the Angel Tree Christmas Program, in which applicants’ names and wish list are written on an angel cutout and placed on a Christmas tree. Members of the community may then choose an angel from the tree and provide the gifts listed.
The Holiday Fund directly supports The Salvation Army’s efforts during the holiday season, Captain Moore said.
“The annual program cost the Angel Tree program is $20,000 to serve 600 or more individuals, and we rely on the generosity of community members to help make this program successful,” Captain Moore said.
Captain Moore and her husband Lt. Brad Moore said it is incredible to think about the need in our community.
Following are actual examples of requests The Salvation Army has taken for holiday assistance. The names have been changed to protect the anonymity of clients and their families. Each week, The Batavian will print some of their stories, including requests from senior citizens, who may be alone or without family for the holidays.
Harriet is a recent widow who not only lost her husband of 50 years, but her oldest child as well within the span of a few months. She was devastated and lost, but was still determined to enjoy the holiday season. It is The Salvation Army’s privilege to help her through this difficult time by providing more than just material gifts, but the gift of hope.
Dana is a mother of three wonderful and bright children, ages 3, 5 and 7. She recently left a domestic violence situation for her safety and the safety of her children. In an effort to rebuild their lives, they moved in with Dana’s mother until they can get back on their feet. She has just started a new job that she loves, but there just isn’t enough money to provide even the simplest of gifts.
Nov. 1, 2018 is a date that will forever cause this father heartache. The mother of his children tragically lost her life and he became the sole guardian and parent for his two children. He was overwhelmed, brokenhearted, confused and angry. He knew he needed to help his children cope through this holiday season as best they could, but he had no idea where to begin. He came to The Salvation Army to ask for winter coats and boots for the children, but he received so much more. His children will now be provided for through The Salvation Army’s holiday program. The Salvation Army was also able to help his family contact mental health professionals for counseling and care during this difficult time.
The Batavian will continue to print weekly updates on The Holiday Fund until Christmas.