The Salvation Army in desperate need of bell ringers

Nov. 25—PLATTSBURGH — Salvation Army Major Robin Holmes Hager was flat out Thanksgiving eve processing clients for much appreciated food boxes from the organization's Food Pantry.

Thanksgiving meals handed out: Check.

"What we've done, actually COVID started it for us, is we now we do a takeout Thanksgiving meal the day before, which then allows our staff to spend Thanksgiving Day with the families for the first time in many years," she said.

Foot traffic has increased at the Salvation Army located at 4804 South Catherine Street in Plattsburgh.

"Times are tough," Hager said.

"We are seeing a lot of new faces we have never seen before. One gentleman that was just here, they've never been here before. It's one of those that his wife is working. He got hurt and isn't able to work right now, and they are just not able to make ends meet. I get that. I totally get that. You go buy a pound of hamburger, and it's not $1.89 a pound anymore. It's ridiculous."

Food boxes will be distributed during Christmas.

"For people whose children who are too old to be part of Christmas Bureau or they don't have children," Hager said.

"We will take applications through Friday, Dec. 16th. It will have Christmas dinner in it for them, but they will need to come in and apply. When they come, they have to show proof of everyone in the household. I need to see state IDs for everybody or original birth certificates or benefits cards. I need to see proof of all income whether it's food stamps, Social Security, pay stubs. We ask to see proof that you are in need. Then, we will distribute them on Dec. 22."

The Salvation Army is in desperate need of bell ringers for shifts Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

"Unfortunately, most places have to be outdoors because we don't have indoors locations anymore," Holmes Hager said.

"Kettles didn't do well last year, so we are desperately need to increase kettles this year. That is our fundraiser. We are looking to raise $80,000. We know that it can be done. In 2020, we did $94,000, so we know it can be done. Last year, it did not go well. We only did like $57,000. So, we know we can do $80,000."

Hager said the organization can't realize its goal without bell ringers.

"Right now, I have two kettles manned," she said.

"I should have five kettles manned. Black Friday, I think I have one manned all day and another one for a couple of hours. I need all five of them manned. So, we're hurting. We're hurting financially. We're hurting with bell ringers. We're just hurting. We get it. People that have always given in the past just don't have the extra money this year. But at the same time, our need is greater. So, that's where we're at."