The financial impacts of the pandemic are catching up with Northern Michigan families, turning to social service agencies in greater numbers than ever before.
Combine that with inflation, and you have two major factors that are making this an unusually busy season for the Salvation Army in Traverse City. They’re seeing an increased need this holiday season, with just a few weeks to go until Christmas.
It’s not something they say lightly. The Salvation Army says this year the need is greater than ever. Lt. Matthew Winters says, “We’ve seen just this snowball effect has been happening. It was the pandemic, and into the economic state.”
It’s a different chain of events than ever before. “Some families were able to hold on during that time,” Winters says. “People who have been able to maintain their livelihood have just exhausted all resources. So for the first time ever they’re saying ‘I need help.’”
That’s why the familiar call for help during the holiday season – carries a different tune this year. “Any sort of help of financial, whether it’s dropping off a toy for toy distribution, we could use all of that,” Winters says. And there’s an increased need for volunteers as well. “If you’re looking to get involved we have plenty of avenues to do that. Whether that’s adopting a teen or shopping for toys for kids, or if it’s coming here at the church location… there’s many different avenues, especially around the Christmas season.”
If you’re one of those in need – don’t be shy. “If you find yourself in need, we would say just come on in, stop by. We have the resources here and can get you plugged in.” Winters says it’s why they’re here. “This is Christmas, it’s making sure that community feels that sense of joy. And for us at the Salvation Army it’s the joy of sitting around a table or helping each other out. Knowing that joy comes from someone far greater than us.”
Next Monday is the last opportunity to sign up for a holiday meal or gift assistance for kids. “Monday the 12th is the last opportunity to sign up for this holiday season. If you find yourself in need stop by and sign up… we’ll make sure we get you the help,” he says.
The Salvation Army also says their Matching Monday challenge started off strong this week. Their goal is $40,000. They brought in 18,000 on that first Monday. There’s just over $21,000 left to raise – and your dollars will be doubled by an anonymous donor for the next two Mondays in December. For more information, and to donate, . Or contact your local Salvation Army – you can search for that .