March 17, 2018 — The Siuslaw region stepped up to the kettle this past holiday season as the Salvation Army (SA) released numbers on its annual holiday campaign, a hefty sum that the organization needs help in distributing back to the community.
The Red Kettle Campaign, which ran from Nov. 24 to Dec. 23, 2017, brought in $27,555 in donations over the period, for a per capita donation amount of $3.19.
In comparison, cities such as Newport and Coos Bay averaged $1.83 and $1.33, respectively. The City of Eugene averaged $0.66, while the national average donation is $0.44.
“The smaller communities give so much more than the larger communities,” SA Oregon Service Representative Debi Leighton said. “It’s just amazing.”
Along with the donations dropped into the kettles, an anonymous donor made a matching gift of $27,000, which will be added to the Western Lane County Endowment, with a fixed percentage of that fund restricted for use in the region.
The all-volunteer campaign, which was coordinated last year by Florence resident Sam Spayd, utilized over 100 volunteers to brave the cold weather and entice people to donate to their community.
Now, SA needs assistance in determining where the donated funds should be directed.
“We’re working on an advisory committee that I’m looking for members to be a part of,” Leighton said. “We would meet every other month and oversee how we spend the money in the community.”
Thousands of dollars from 2016’s drive have already been distributed, including food for Florence Food Share, emergency clothing for Mapleton and Siuslaw elementary schools, tennis shoes for the Boys and Girls Club of Western Lane County cheer team and snacks for after-school sports programs at Mapleton.
Thousands more dollars from the 2016 donation campaign are still available through voucher programs, doled out through Cross Road Assembly of God, located in Florence.
“We’re hoping to help people with rent and utilities, just an emergency kind of assistance,” Leighton said.
Donations for 2016 totaled approximately $14,000 — and were dwarfed by the 2017 totals, so SA is looking for assistance in finding worthy causes for the money.
“Because of the magnitude of the money that’s here, I want people involved locally,” Leighton said. “I want people who know what’s going on, people who have ideas. There are just a myriad of ways to help.”
SA is hoping for up to 15 individuals to be a part of the committee, which plans to begin in June.
“It’s important that the community gets involved in this,” Leighton said. “They gave us the money. Now help us spend it.”
To become a member of the committee, contact Leighton at [email protected] or by calling 541-892-2723.
The Cross Road Assembly Church, which currently holds the emergency vouchers, can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 541-997-3533.