The Salvation Army: “We need more help now than ever to rescue Christmas”

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – The pandemic hit the United States hard– but it’s hitting those in need even harder. While more people than ever need services from organizations like The Salvation Army, the donations and volunteer numbers are down.

“We have stores that won’t let us ring outside the door because of COVID-19, so the [usual] amount of red kettles out there are not there anymore,” said Maj. Ronald Mott.

Another problem is the lack of bell ringers. The Beckley Salvation Army had 16 volunteers to fill shifts last year. This year, they have less than half as many. With less volunteers and less collection opportunities, next year’s budget could be in trouble.

“This funds [the whole year,] not just Christmas,” said Mott. “We don’t know when the end of [the pandemic] is. No one knows when the end is, but people still need our help every day.”

The pandemic has made other things difficult as well, like donations for the Angel Wreath at Crossroads Mall.

“We have not gotten a very good response from that, yet. I don’t know if it’s that people aren’t coming out to the mall or what. The angels need to be rescued.”

On each angel are details of a child in need whose parents can’t afford to get them everything they want for Christmas. Some ask for classics like a skateboard or games while others  want a nice set of clothes. With the way things look this year, some may not get even that.

“It’s a sign of the times, I guess. We need more help now than ever to rescue Christmas.”

The Salvation Army needs bell ringers to fill 4-hour and 8-hour shifts. To volunteer or donate to The Salvation Army, call (304) 253-9541 or visit 312 S Fayette St. in Beckley.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.