The Oswego County Salvation Army needs help from the community to continue helping people this year. Major James Purvis, executive director, said the local Salvation Army is facing a $25,000 shortfall in the budget. And this comes at a time when the Army is helping more and more people, Purvis said. Most of the shortfall comes from a poor Red Kettle drive season at Christmastime. Purvis said the drive came up $12,000 short of goal.
“It was a combination of weather and we didn’t have as many volunteers this year,” Purvis said. “As our fiscal year runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, we have four months to raise the funds necessary for this year,” Purvis said. “Without doing so, next year will also be affected. “
Purvis said the Salvation Army’s volunteer advisory board, comprised of 31 community people, worked with Purvis and Major Kathryn Purvis to address the financial shortfall. The Salvation Army has physical locations in Fulton and Oswego but serves the entire county.
“There is an increase in the numbers of people coming to the soup kitchens and food pantries,” Kathryn Purvis said. “Last year 25,488 grocery orders were provided between the two locations. A total of 437,676 meals have been provided through the pantries and the soup kitchens.”
“The number of households seeking assistance is up 20 percent over this time last year and the numbers continue to rise,” she said.
James Purvis attributes this increase to the economy and the Army becoming more accessible to the public through getting the word out on its locations, hours and services and providing more help.
Founded in 1865 in London, The Salvation Army has historically been on the front line of meeting the needs of the less fortunate. Its founder, William Booth, fed the hungry and homeless who lived under London Bridge.
The first kettle fundraising started in 1891 in San Francisco as a way of raising money to feed the hungry. During World War I, the Salvation Army was on the front line serving coffee and donuts to hungry soldiers. Most units across the country have food pantries and many have soup kitchens.
“The Salvation Army will feed, counsel, refer and help in any way we can,” said Kathryn Purvis. “Oswego County is a great community with generous people willing to help us in any way they can.”
Anyone who wants to help the Salvation Army can make a donation to The Salvation Army, PO Box 146, Oswego, NY 13126.
Online donations can be made at www.salvationarmyempirestate.org. This is a secure site. Your zip code will direct your donation to Oswego. Your donation stays in Oswego County and will be used to feed the hungry and help the less fortunate.
Contributing reporter: Debra J. Groom