As a record-breaking freeze blankets the Southeast, The Salvation Army across Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi is having to now balance fundraising efforts (in the final days of its largest annual fundraising campaign) with opening warming centers and securing cold weather supplies for the unsheltered.
While arctic conditions make it near impossible for volunteer bellringers to ring at retail locations, The Salvation Army still needs support to help the community’s most vulnerable during this holiday crisis and throughout the year. The Salvation Army depends on holiday giving for approximately 50 percent of its annual operating budget, which supports programs such as shelter assistance, food and meal services, and emergency financial support.
“Our offices, with the resources and facilities, are working hard to provide safety and comfort for anyone that needs help,” said Major Ethan Frizzell, General Secretary of The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi Division. “With these dangerously low temperatures, it’s extremely hazardous for our community’s unsheltered individuals and families to be exposed to the elements for even a short period of time.”
Staff and volunteers are moving resources to help protect those in need from hypothermia and frostbite, which can occur in under 30 minutes of exposure. Locations across the three states are opening warming stations, expanding shelters to 24-hour care, distributing cold-weather supplies, and providing warm meals and beverages to those experiencing homelessness.
The freezing conditions coincide with the end of the famous Red Kettle season, which could severely impact the funding needed to secure the programs and services that support crisis services for the upcoming year. The Salvation Army has seen an increase of 25 to 50 percent for its services this year due to rising inflation
and lingering impacts from the pandemic, so reduced funding could have an even greater impact on assistance.
“We need the community’s help so we can continue to house those without shelter, offer support to those at risk of losing heat, serve food to individuals and families in need of a meal, and offer hope to those in need of emotional and spiritual care,” said Major Frizzell.
The Salvation Army encourages the community to support their local Salvation Army by making a financial donation at salvationarmyalm.org. If you need assistance, please find your local Salvation Army at https://salvationarmyalm.org/locations/.
The Salvation Army is a 501c(3) organization, meaning donations are tax-deductible, something to consider as we near the end of the year.