‘Red Shield’ appeal gearing up

The Salvation Army is asking local residents to remember those in need and lend a hand this spring—either with their time or their donations.
“The ‘Red Shield’ campaign is just around the corner, and first of all we want to say thank you to the community for their support in past years,” said Capt. Angel Sandoval.
May is Red Shield Month for the Salvation Army around the world, and is the time of year they fundraise for their many programs.
Capts. Angel and Marlene Sandoval of the local Salvation Army are asking people to help out through donations, or to volunteer to canvas door-to-door.
“We can be more successful if we work hand-in-hand,” he noted.
While the money raised during the Christmas kettles campaign is used to prepare Christmas hampers for needy families, the Red Shield campaign is to raise funds for operational needs.
“The Red Shield campaign is the major fundraiser we have to continue the ministry,” Capt. Marlene said. “It helps us to cover all the expenses and the food bank.
“It’s hard sometimes, doing an appeal to the community, because there are so many different institutions asking for money. And they’re all important,” she added.
The Salvation Army is different from some of the other organizations seeking donations in that they serve people’s most basic and primary needs, like food and clothing, without which they can’t function.
“We help people desperately in need,” she said.
“1.5 million people in Canada are helped by the Salvation Army every year, and we are part of that statistic,” Capt. Angel noted.
The local Salvation Army helped more than 600 families in Rainy River District in 2006, he said. Of those, 230 received Christmas hampers.
“The rest are people who visit us regularly,” he noted.
The Salvation Army receives a small amount of funding from Ontario Works, but otherwise depends on the community for support. Each Salvation Army ministry is self-sufficient, and funds raised locally are used locally.
“We serve the hidden homeless, people from broken homes, the working poor,” Capt. Angel said.
The goal for this year’s Red Shield campaign is $16,000.
Last year’s budget for family services—including the food bank—was $84,000. Much of that is funded through the Thrift Shop, the Sandovals said.
“If we didn’t have the Thrift Store, I don’t think we’d survive,” Capt. Marlene stressed.
Letters will go out to local residents in the coming weeks asking for their support, and volunteers will canvas door-to-door.
This year, five cadets from the Salvation Army training college in Winnipeg will coming to Fort Frances to help with the campaign.
“They’ll get to see what it’s like to work in a small community,” Capt. Angel said.
The Red Shield campaign will kick off May 1 with a flag-raising at the Civic Centre.
And as always, donations of clean, gently-used clothing always are welcome at the Thrift Store during business hours.