Buckhannon Rotary Club learns more about Salvation Army

The Inter-Mountain photo by Sarah Goodrich Sharla Smith discusses volunteer opportunities available with the Salvation Army this holiday season to members of the Buckhannon Rotary Club.

BUCKHANNON — Members of the Rotary Club of Buckhannon learned Tuesday about the variety of ways the Salvation Army is involved in Upshur County during the holiday season .

Sharla Smith, with the Upshur County Salvation Army, explained the organization is involved in many aspects throughout the county because the holiday months are “the busiest time of the year.”

For the Upshur Parish House, Smith said the Salvation Army “joins hands” to help accommodate the holiday meal packages that the house offers to community members.

“This year we donated 15 cases of cranberry jelly sauce, and we also submit them a check, which helps them purchase all of the meats for their baskets,” she said.

The Salvation Army’s notable bell ringing kicks off on Nov. 20 at Dollar Tree and Kroger. Bell ringing will occur from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Bell ringing at Wal-Mart will begin on Nov. 24.

The Inter-Mountain photo by Sarah Goodrich Sponsor Jody Light, at right, welcomes Sharla Smith as the newest member to the Rotary Club of Buckhannon during a lunch meeting Tuesday.

“Volunteering to ring kettles is the key. It’s the utmost key,” stressed Smith. “Because with us being 100 percent non-profit, of course the money that is brought in through the kettles stays in Upshur County, and is what we work off through the year.”

She explained the collected money is used for pantry items, utilities assistance and “what provides for Salvation Army.”

Without volunteers, Smith explained the organization has to pay bell ringers, which take funds away from supplying the Salvation Army throughout the year.

“Volunteering with that is just a blessing to us, but also it’s good for you all as well because it’s a good way to get out in the community,” Smith said.

She noted volunteering with bell ringing can be done in two- to four-hour increments, depending on preference.

“So any volunteering that we can join together and do, that’s a huge help to the Salvation Army,” she said.

The annual Angel Christmas Tree Assistance program has already begun, with 225 children in Upshur County this year. The program, which has been in existence for 30 years, gives qualified children the opportunity of having a wonderful Christmas.

The deadline to make adoptions is Dec. 7, and then Salvation Army begins the distribution process Dec. 11.

“It’s a big process of getting everything transferred out there, making sure we have all of the angels adopted, making sure everything is turned in and getting everything ready for distribution on Dec. 15,” Smith explained.

Before distribution, she added, the gifts are sorted in each family “so all the siblings are equal.”

Volunteering opportunities are available with this program as well, said Smith.

“It takes a lot of team effort to go through all those bags, place all the families together, make sure everybody has everything, and getting it all together,” she noted.

This year, Smith said her goal is to have all of the participating children adopted. Fifteen kids last year were not adopted.

Some of the Christmas trees can be seen at Wal-Mart, Stockert Youth Center and Puttin’ On The Ritz.

Other business discussed at meeting included:

• A new Rotatarian was welcomed to the Rotary Club of Buckhannon. Sharla Smith was pinned with the rotary badge by sponsor Jody Light.

• Response on the annual blood screenings were discussed, with $72,115 being raised for the Rotary Club’s fall fundraiser.

Due to the Thanksgiving holidays, next week’s lunch meeting will be canceled. The next meeting will be at noon Nov. 28.