By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
The Associate Benevolent Society and the Salvation Army in Clinton are approaching its busiest time of year following months of seeing increasing need in the parts of the community they serve.
During the rest of the year, The Salvation Army’s pantry covers residents north of Fifth Avenue South in Clinton County, while the Associate Benevolent Society covers residents south of Fifth Avenue South in Clinton County.
On key holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, they each serve the entire county for their respective holiday.
The Benevolent Society serves family for Thanksgiving, while the Salvation Army is in charge of Christmas.
Benevolent Society Director Paula Mallory is anticipating 500 families will be served this Thanksgiving through the food boxes her organization fills with the items for a Thanksgiving meal.
The organization purchases food from a food bank in order to be consistent with what is given to each of the registered families. This year, however, the organization will not be able to purchase turkeys from the food bank at the low price of 18 cents a pound. Instead, they will need to purchase them from Wal-Mart.
“When you’re talking about 500 turkeys, that’s a lot,” Mallory said.
Because of this change, Mallory is suggesting anyone who would like to contribute to the Thanksgiving effort should donate financially or with a Wal-Mart gift card. She advised against donating a turkey because the organization will be purchasing them the morning of Nov. 19 when families are given their food boxes.
As Mallory is preparing for Thanksgiving, she is also dealing with the highest demand for help she has experienced in the eight years she has been in her position.
In September alone the organization gave out 27,700 non-food items and provided 64 food pantries.
“It’s tough for everybody,” she said. “Every year it seems to increase. It’s hard to see people suffering.”
She said the organization is always looking for nonperishable items. Specifically canned meals, meats and soups with the pull tabs. The organization is also always in need of toiletries.
Salvation Army Lt. Jeanette Jensen said her organization is also in need of donated non perishable food.
“The whole city is seeing an increase in need and our pantry reflects that,” Jensen said.
Meanwhile, Jensen and her organization are trying to organize for Christmas. Jensen is busy planning for the easily recognizable red Christmas kettles, nursing home visits and countertop kettles.
On top of these tasks, the Salvation Army is also planning for the holiday food basket and the toy shop. The organization is looking for turkey, stuffing, gravy mix, instant potatoes, jello, pudding, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and toys for families in need.
“We find Christmas time is a time of hope and when people can’t get those toys it diminishes hope drastically,” Jensen said.
The application process for the food baskets and the toyshop starts on Monday. Those filling out applications will be asked for identification, proof of address and proof of income as part of the process.
Last year, the organization provided food baskets and toys to approximately 650 families. This year, Jensen is anticipating the community will again help to bring families a Christmas.
“We’re anticipating generosity,” Jensen said. “We’re anticipating a lot of love being spread around the community.”
To make a donation to the Salvation Army, call 242-4502. To contribute to the Benevolent Society, call 243-4148.