ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Residents might see volunteers ringing bells for the “Red Kettle Campain,” but The Salvation Army is hard at work year-round.
This week is “National Salvation Army Week.” The Salvation Army of Winnebago County held a volunteer held a volunteer appreciation event on Tuesday, and everybody there was incredibly passionate about what they do.
“It might be bills, sometimes it might be maybe getting a car fixed, because they could work but they can’t get to work, or can’t get to work consistently, because a car is not dependable,” said Major Monty Wandling, coordinator of The Salvation Army of Winnebago County.
From rent assistance to emergency services after natural disasters, The Salvation Army of Winnebago County is there to lend a helping hand all year long.
“I’ve heard stories from everywhere, from anywhere, from helping people get a car, helping get an education, you know what I mean, just the job skills they need to do,” Wandling said. “So, that’s a really fun way to do it, but that’s what all our money at Christmas is raised, to help us help people all year long.”
The organization recognized their volunteers who have gone above and beyond on Tuesday night.
“Connexus actually pays their staff 16 hours of volunteer time off, which is great,” said Shelly Bengston, ‘Community Award’ winner with Connexus Credit Union. “So, we get to get out in the community and do things like that for The Salvation Army and other organizations that are so deserving.”
Volunteers from their staff worked to collect items for The Salvation Army’s food pantry.
“This year we’re doubling up on our food barrels and bringing more members into the fold and volunteers for The Salvation Army, and we hope to bring in even more food than last year,” said Sam Smith, ‘Community Award’ winner with Connexus Credit Union.
One experience stands out for Wandling.
“She had a special needs daughter who had outgrown her car seat, and even though she’s bigger than we would normally think a child needing a car seat, she needed that support, and we were able to help with a kind of custom-made car seat for her,” he said.
The Salvation Army of Winnebago County has events like “Donut Day” and day camps this summer.