Salvation Army spreads cheer with food, toys

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The spirit of Christmas came alive in Lunenburg County ahead of the holiday as the Salvation Army and its volunteers delivered food to local families Saturday, Dec. 16.

Lunenburg County Salvation Army volunteer Teresa Finch said in a Thursday interview that they delivered food to 130 families across the county.

Additionally, 127 children were provided with gifts through its Angel Tree program.

Finch said the 20 drivers who volunteer to make deliveries were busy Saturday making special holiday stops throughout the county for needy residents. 

Families of four receive a turkey, while those in households of three or under get a roaster. 

“They’re going to get their meat for the holidays, and we do a bag of sugar, a bag of flour, 5 pounds of potatoes, 5 pounds of onions, and all of that goes with each bag of food or box of food,” she said. 

Salvation ArmyHelping the drivers with the deliveries were Lunenburg football coach Will Thomas and members of the team. 

“It is such a help because some of our drivers are older, they’ve been doing it a long time,” Finch said. “Those football players will jump right in and help them load up and some of them will go with them to deliver, to help them get it out of the vehicle as well.” 

She said they are able to raise the funds needed through the volunteer bellringers at the Salvation Army’s red kettles and the donations from the county’s businesses, individuals and churches. 

“We generally break even for what we spend because we ask the community, the schools and such to donate nonperishable items,” Finch said. So they do that. Kenbridge Elementary School has always been a really good supporter.” 

She said it’s nothing for them to collect 1,200 cans of food when they need it. 

“None of this would be possible without the support of the community through financial and food donations that individuals, businesses, schools and churches provide each year,” Finch said. “We continue as a community to rise to the occasion, and we are grateful for all who volunteer their time to coordinate and make this a success each and every year.” 

They also see the community step up to help as the Angel Tree children are adopted to fill their wishes for toys or clothes. 

“Our big push is Christmas,” she said. “That’s what we do is to make sure that we’ve got food and, toys, clothes, whatever 

the kids need,” she said. 

Finch praised the county’s teachers and schools for their help ensuring families have what they need for Christmas. 

“Our individuals, churches, businesses, they adopt these angels and go and buy for them and then we collect it all back in a central location,” she noted. “The food is delivered, but we allow the parents to come pick up the Angel Tree gifts.” 

This is the second year the Salvation Army project has worked covering all of Lunenburg County. 

Finch explained that Kenbridge and Victoria had individual chapters, each operating their own food and toy collection and distribution in their areas. When volunteer Patsy Scott in Victoria became ill and couldn’t do that part of the county, the two joined forces. 

“We had two volunteers this year to help come and deliver food at the Victoria side of the county,” she said. “I’ve always worked with the Kenbridge unit.” 

Finch said she has been volunteering with the Salvation Army for 40 years, helping with the food and toy collections and deliveries. But she knows there are volunteers who have been helping for at least 50 years. 

“It was very successful this year,” she said. 

Finch said for many years, success of the program was the work of chairman Marjorie Powers, who continued helping all of her life. She passed away a couple years back at age 104. 

“We laughed all the time and said we always had money to pay for things because Miss Powers would go and say, “You need to write a check for the Salvation Army,” and they would. So we miss her.” 

HOW TO HELP THE SALVATION ARMY 

Finch said one of program’s greatest needs in the county is bellringers to work the red kettles. 

“We would like to have more help with ringing the bell. That’s been a challenge. We’ve got several church groups that will come and, they’re solid. They’re gonna come and do that for you every year. But if we could get more volunteers to assist with that, that would help with funding as well.” 

While the Salvation Army program focuses on Christmas, families in the community do have needs through the year. 

Outside of the Christmas season, Finch said the Salvation Army accepts donations. 

Any donations can be given to Finch and she forwards them to the treasurer, or they can be mailed to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 523, Kenbridge, Virginia 23944. 

“We can always take donations because that’s how we survive, is donations from businesses, individuals, churches and that supports us,” Finch said.