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Busy season for Salvation Army

REVIEWING APPLICATIONS — Tia Detwiller, left, social services worker, and Capt. Angela Smith of the Salvation Army of Steubenville look over applications at what is a busy time of year with requests for utility and rent assistance along with signups in progress for Christmas assistance — toys and food baskets. -- Janice Kiaski

STEUBENVILLE — In light of possible toy shortages this holiday, the Salvation Army of Steubenville has moved up the dates of applications for Christmas assistance.

Capt. Angela Smith, who serves as corps commanding officer of the Salvation Army of Steubenville at 332 N. Fourth St. along with her husband, Capt. Michael Smith, said Christmas assistance applications are being accepted through Oct. 29.

“We decided that with talk of toy shortages this year and things going on with deliveries to go early and get the angels out to stores as soon as possible so that’s why it’s earlier this year,” Smith explained.

“We are doing applications Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in person. We do close from noon to 12:30 p.m. for lunch, and you do have to have some items with you,” she said.

Each applicant must provide a valid photo ID, proof of income, birth certificates for all children birth to 12 and proof of residency, such as a piece of mail postmarked within the last 30 days.

The signups are for toys but also for a food basket for those not signing up for children.

“Normally the Christmas application process is typically starting mid-October and going to mid-November,” Smith said.

There will be eight locations for angel trees with Wal-Mart the “largest supporter,” according to Smith.

“If you don’t want to go out to Wal-Mart and pick an angel, we have what’s called Register for Good through Walmart.com. You can go online and find the Steubenville Salvation Army, and we have toy suggestions on there. You can buy a toy and have it shipped right to us,” she said of a procedure used with success last Christmas.

“We’re still in talks with other locations with plans to have trees all out by Nov. 1,” Smith said. Unwrapped new toys can be returned to the Salvation Army. “Even if you don’t get an angel name, you can still send a toy of your choosing,” she added.

In a recent interview, Smith overviewed other projects on the Salvation Army’s agenda.

THANKSGIVING MEAL

The Salvation Army will once again be hosting its annual Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., which is open to everybody. “This will be a to-go meal only and will include all your favorite Thanksgiving favorites,” she said.

“We’re preparing for 200 — last year we had about 100, so we’re going to double it this year,” she said, anticipating higher numbers with the lifting of pandemic restrictions.

Those wanting a meal should call the Salvation Army at (740) 282-5121, including requests for delivery which will be provided only to those unable to physically come to the building.

“If you’re interested in having a meal, leave a name and number of how many meals you want and we ask that just one representative come to pick up the meals,” Smith said.

“We do ask that right now you wear a mask when you come in.”

KETTLE CAMPAIGN

The Salvation Army will launch its annual Red Kettle campaign on Nov. 8. It continues until Dec. 24 and does not include collections on Sundays.

The hours will be based on the availability of volunteers who are being recruited Those interested should contact the Salvation Army.

“The kettles is our biggest fundraiser, and it funds programs throughout the whole year so a little change can change a lot,” Smith said. “All the money stays right here in the area, and it’s used for programs throughout the entire year.”

The goal is to raise $56,000, the same goal as last year.

HELP WITH UTILITIES, RENT

“We’re very excited we have started a lot of new services. We have Tia Detwiler, our social services worker, so we’ve been able to add rental assistance, electric, water and gas assistance,” Smith said of what’s been offered since Oct. 1.

“We had been doing gas before but added the others,” she said.

“You must have a shut-off or disconnection notice from the utility company, and you have to call and make an appointment with Tia,” Smith said.

“For rent you must be behind and you must have a note from the landlord and a copy of the lease and the letter from the landlord stating you are behind on your rent,” she added. If a lease is not applicable, a letter from landlord suffices.

“There is obvious need for it,” Smith said of the assistance. “Since we arrived a little over a year ago we have gotten multiple calls about rental assistant, water, gas, electric, all of the utilities, so there is a need for it, and since we started this Oct. 1, we’ve helped in every category. There is a huge need for it in the community,” she added.

“We can pay up to $250, and if more than that is owed, then the guest would have to come up with that remaining amount before we can pledge our $250,” Smith explained. The landlord has to fill out a W-9 form before assistance can be provided.

FAMILY NIGHTS

The Salvation Army will be hosting a family movie night open to all. It will be held Oct. 29, beginning at 7 p.m. and include a movie and free popcorn.

“We wanted to do something for the community that’s fun and safe and that families would enjoy, so we’ll probably do a children’s-family animated Halloween movie and have popcorn and things of that nature,” she said.

There will be family nights in November and December with details to be announced.

Starting in 2022, there will be a women’s ministry group and a men’s ministry group held monthly, each geared to participants 18 and older.

That’s in addition to the Salvation Army’s church service each Sunday at 11 a.m. and Sunday school for all ages, beginning at 10:15 a.m.

Smith said Sally’s Plate, formerly the Shepherd’s Table, continues each Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and is open to anyone. While it continues as a take-out meal only, hopes are that it will ultimately resume as an in-person event for not just a meal, but fellowship, too.

“We average maybe 20 a week,” Smith said of how the free meal offering is being patronized.

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