By Nicole Minier
COLUMBIA CITY — The Salvation Army of Whitley County has a lot to celebrate from 2017 and is looking forward to what’s to come for 2018.
Christine Scroggs, of the Salvation Army, said she had a whirlwind of activities from October through the end of the year, between helping with its year-round programs of Utility Assistance, Helpline Furniture and vouchers for the First Church of God food pantry, and holiday-related programs such as giving away coats, turkeys, hams, hats and gloves, and toys to grandparents.
“There is no way any of these programs would have been so successful without the support and help from several other individuals and agencies,” Scroggs said.
Those who assisted include: Warner Electric, KC Jones Plating Company, First Church of God, Walmart, Family Video, DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home, St. Paul of the Cross, Toys for Tots, Grace & Hope Lutheran churches, Beck Enterprises, the individuals who sponsored Christmas families, CCHS Key Club, the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce, The Salvation Army Ladies Auxiliary, the 4-H Homemakers Club, the local businesses who allowed a counter kettle all season, all who donated funds and all who donated toys to the grandparents closet.
Scroggs also offers a special thank-you to Toys for Tots for helping with the extra need for items for the grandparents closet.
The Salvation Army also brought in over $16,000 in its annual Red Kettle Drive, which is the main fundraiser in the county.
The money goes directly to the Whitley County Salvation Army to help the community with its needs.
“Every year, you see people standing in the cold and elements ringing a bell. These people volunteer their time, and make a huge impact,” Scroggs said. “There is no way our programs could run without people willing to sacrifice a bit to help others. It is not hard work physically to stand outside and bell-ring, but it definitely is hard emotionally. It requires some to stand there and smile at strangers, sing Christmas carols, and sometimes freeze in the process. Yet there they are, getting out of their comfort zone all in the name of Goodwill towards their fellow human. It is a beautiful thing to see, and I very much appreciate everyone for their part.”
The Salvation Army of Whitley County awards the business and bell-ringer with the most donations collected. In 2017, Teghtmeyer Ace Hardware was the 2017 County Kettle Award winner, and the highest individual bell-ringer was Jody Langley.
“The awards are a small way to recognize efforts in helping us raise our funds,” Scroggs said. “Thank you to every member and business for your help with our Kettles this year. You truly help the Salvation Army do the most good in Whitley County.”
Scroggs is looking forward to what 2018 will bring.
“I am currently working on our calendar for the year, bringing in some new programs and ideas,” Scroggs said.
The Salvation Army is currently collecting blankets.
“We had so many people call with frozen pipes a few weeks back, so the Salvation Army of Whitley County is collecting blankets and challenging people to turn down their thermostats a couple degrees,” Scroggs said.
Blankets and sweaters are being distributed during office hours. To qualify, recipients must be a resident of Whitley County, have a photo ID, bring in their current utility bill, then compare it to the following month’s utility bill to show the cost savings. Blankets are available for one per household.
To see what programs are coming, visit the Salvation Army of Whitley County Facebook page, or visit corps.salvationarmyindiana.org/whitleycounty.