Without a doubt, 2021 has been another year of unprecedented challenges just as 2020 was. Although the United States as a whole is seeing improvements since the pandemic began, in the Glens Falls community we are still working hard to bring hope to those still struggling. Our communities are still working together to support each other and do the most good. Not only are we working hard to make sure people are fed and safe, we pride ourselves on sharing messages of hope and love to those living in the Glens Falls community.
Jesus once taught about the two greatest commandments; to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. He said that all the teachings contained in the scriptures are fulfilled in these two. In His parable, The Good Samaritan, he helps us look in the mirror of our collective soul to see selfishness and prejudice. The pandemic has helped us to see ourselves more clearly and given us a chance to recognize our priorities and focus on what matters.
The Salvation Army has seen an unparalleled level of need this year. Since COVID-19 arrived in March of 2020, The Salvation Army of Glens Falls has distributed north of 650 thousand pounds of food - five times the normal emergency food distribution for an average year. To put this in perspective, this is enough food to provide more than 2,400 meals daily for neighbors in need. We established emergency food pantries in local motels that are serving as housing for the homeless. We have setup food pantries in senior housing to ensure the most vulnerable are safe and well.
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We would not have been able to provide the increased level of care with our handful of hardworking employees. It has been our honor this year to serve next to volunteers from our community who contributed more than 5,000 hours to the cause. Dozens of organizations, businesses, government and non-government agencies from every level, local service groups, and other area non-profits have assisted in the mission this year. To all of these, we say thank you and God bless you. As much as some would like to put the pandemic in the rear view mirror, we do not have that luxury. Even though so much has been accomplished, there is more to do this year and beyond.
The holiday season is The Salvation Army’s busiest time of year. This year with all the extenuating circumstances, the need for holiday assistance is almost beyond our capacity. Our local resources are stretched thin, and we need the community’s assistance in several tangible ways:
• Volunteers: We need volunteers…many, many volunteers for everything from packing holiday meals to participating in our historic Red Kettle bell ringing campaign. This holiday fundraising campaign accounts for 30% of our annual budget. This year, because of restrictions surrounding the pandemic, lots of regular individuals and groups are not able to participate, placing our holiday assistance and fundraising efforts in real danger. Please visit SAvolunteers.org for a list of places and times to volunteer for the Red Kettle bell ringing campaign or call (518) 792-1960 for more information.
• Virtual donations: With the need being at an all-time high and COVID-19 restrictions limiting our ability to raise funds like we usually do, please visit give.salvationarmy.org/glensfallskettle to donate.
• Angel Tree Toy Drive: Again, with the restrictions in place from COVID-19, less people are out and about, and more people need help with presents under the tree this year. Please visit salvationarmyusa.org/usn/walmart-angel-tree/ and enter your zip code to find the Glens Falls Angel Tree Registry. Toys will be delivered directly to us to connect with the families in need.
More than ever this holiday season we need the help of those in our community to provide the level of care and assistance we pride ourselves on. Our mission is doing the most good and we are looking to the community to help us accomplish that this year. Whether it be donating your time as a volunteer, making a cash donation, or adopting an angel through the Angel Tree Registry, every bit helps. Contact us at 518-792-1960 or by messaging The Salvation Army of Glens Falls Facebook.
Happy holidays and God bless.