Central New York, Community

Syracuse Salvation Army Seeking More Volunteers

A look inside the Salvation Army in Syracuse, a group that is in dire need of more volunteers in order to meet its holiday fundraising goal of $300,000 in Onondaga County.

By Mike Drew SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — For the Salvation Army, the holiday season has long been a time of giving happiness to those in need. But, this year, the group is worried about raising enough money to continue its tradition.

In Onondaga County, the Salvation Army‘s goal is to raise $300,000 by Christmas through its Red Kettle program. However, Christmas is just 19 days away, and the group has only raised 30 percent of its target ($90,000).

So, how does the group hope to close the gap? They say by finding more people to volunteer as bell-ringers.

“It would relieve us from having to put in so many hours at one time,” two-year volunteer Monique Dexter said. “We could probably break shifts and (things) like that.”

Dexter, 56, gives the majority of her time to bell-ringing. She works eight hours a day, six days a week for nothing. She doesn’t view it as an obligation, but acknowledged it would be nice to get a load taken off her back.

“I try not to go home with carpal tunnel at the end of the day,” Dexter said.

TheĀ Salvation Army is looking for 200 more people to volunteer during the week.

“There are a lot of locations, retail locations, that are busy during the week,” Marketing Manager Kathleen Burke said. “And, it’s harder to man those.”

Some of the many retail locations that the Salvation Army uses in Central New York are:

  • Price Chopper
  • Walmart
  • Sam’s Club
  • Tops
  • Wegman’s

Today, Dexter was met by mostly happy faces and people who were eager to donate. She estimated that for every 100 people that pass her by, about 70 of them will drop cash or coins into her kettle.

“I think people, as a whole, need to remember that one helping another is how this land can survive,” Dexter said.

Burke said anyone who wants to get involved should visit registertoring.com. It’s possible to volunteer individually or with your family.

One of the iconic Red Kettles used by the Salvation Army every year during the holiday season. (c) 2016 Mike Drew

An unmanned Red Kettle station at Price Chopper in Syracuse. This station was on the opposite side of the store as Dexter. (c) 2016 Mike Drew