Salvation Army needs volunteersPublished 1:55pm Thursday, May 23, 2013
To the editor:
One December morning, I — like many volunteers across the U.S. — spent part of my day bell-ringing for The Salvation Army. The shift at the Niles Walmart started out slowly. Then, an SUV pulled up and the driver asked if this was where the toy drive was (we were also doing a Christmas toy collection). I said yes, and he handed me a $100 bill and immediately drove away.
Later that month, I volunteered at the annual Christmas toy distribution. The SA gives toys to local families who apply for help. One woman sobbed to me as she described how the year before, her husband was laid off from his job, and was then diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The SA was the only way she would be able to provide her children with gifts.
My experience with the SA is not unique. I was told when I first started as a volunteer in October that if you show up three times, you’re hooked in. There are so many selfless volunteers — many logging nearly full-time hours — that make it a close-knit community. From kitchen helpers to food pantry stockers, people from all backgrounds come together to help others in need.
The SA of Niles also has a Dowagiac service office, and together they serve people from those two cities and Cassopolis, Berrien Center, Berrien Springs, Buchanan, Galien, New Troy, Jones, Marcellus, Vandalia, Edwardsburg, Union Pier and Union. Volunteers are needed in various capacities and for special events.
My experience volunteering at the SA as a front desk attendant and Feeding His Sheep route driver taught me that anyone at any time can need help; life hands people challenges they may have never expected. It has also showed me how generous the human spirit can be.
To learn more, contact volunteer coordinator Scott Lolmough at (269) 684-2660 or Scott.firstname.lastname@example.org.