The bell-ringing campaign is one of the Army’s most high-profile activities and typically generates about a quarter of its annual budget, according to Marietta Army commander Capt. Candi Marquez. And it depends heavily on the volunteerism of the local community.
Companies can adopt a kettle for an entire day and provide volunteers from the office. Kettles are located all around Cobb County, so there is bound to be a location close to you or your office.
To be part of any of the Army’s programs, call Capt. Marquez or her husband, Capt. José Marquez, at (770) 724-1640 in Marietta.
In addition to the bell-ringing campaign, the Army’s budget is funded by direct-mail solicitation, a FEMA grant, corporate grants, program fees, the United Way and individual gifts.
The Army has had a post here for decades at 202 Waterman Street, the site of the old Waterman Street School, which this columnist attended as a boy. It has an operating budget of about $1 million per year, about half of which is raised during the Christmas season by the bell ringers. The rest comes from fees, the United Way and corporate and private donations.
The Army’s mission is to preach the Gospel and meet human needs in Jesus’ name without discrimination. It long has been one of the most respected charitable organizations in this country and the world. It was founded in England in 1865 by William and Katherine Booth. Its ranks now number more than 1 million working in more than 100 countries.
One of the Marquezs’ predecessors as commander of the Marietta barracks, Capt. Art Fultz, once shared with the Marietta Kiwanis Club what he described as the “signature quote” of Army co-founder Booth: “While women weep as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison in and out as they do now, I’ll fight; while there’s a drunkard left; while there’s a poor lost girl on the streets; while there remains one soul without the light of God, I’ll fight — I’ll fight to the very end.”
The Army is well known for being one of the first responders to natural disasters. That’s not its primary role, but it is a high-profile one. But there’s much more to the Salvation Army than responding to disasters and ringing bells. So what, exactly, is the Salvation Army?
The Army offers a variety of programs at its barracks on Waterman Street.
Financial Emergency Services, which helps individuals and families meet immediate human needs of hunger, thirst and shelter, while providing hope for the future.
Direct Financial Assistance, which prevents homelessness for individuals and families by providing rent, mortgage and utility funding.
A food pantry.
A mobile feeding unit used weekly to make visitations to local HUD and low-income housing units to provide food and fellowship. It was recently deployed as a first responder for tornado victim rescue and recovery in Rome.
The Army also puts a heavy focus on helping local youth. Its character education and educational programs make sure the needs of young children and teens are being met every day.
Its character building programs offer opportunities for building relationships with various Scouting groups like the Sunbeams, Girl Guards, Explorers and Rangers. Each section takes members through a series of achievement emblems and awards to help them develop their individuality and potential. They provide a balanced learning environment that is fun and honors Christ.
Also, each afternoon Monday through Friday there is the After School Program, which helps with homework and goal setting. During the 2011 Spring semester, 90 percent of its participants achieved Honor Roll status. It’s hard to argue with that. There’s also a nine-week summer day camp for 60 underprivileged children.
On the other end of the age spectrum, the Army provides lunch and transportation for more than 30 seniors twice a month.
The Army holds religious services every Sunday, and Bible studies too, at its barracks on Waterman Street. Pastoral counseling is offered as well.
Its officers often see those who for the first time in their lives have had to ask for something. We sometimes forget that for some people missing just one paycheck can make all the difference in the world between getting by and falling on hard times.
There’s no shortage of ways in which the Salvation Army helps out the downtrodden people of our community, this time of year and all year round. Why don’t you help them help this season?
Bill Kinney is associate editor of The Marietta Daily Journal.