Editor In Chief
With the holidays just around the corner, students can make a difference in people’s lives through the Capital Area Salvation Army.
Having assisted countless needy families and children since expanding into Lansing in 1884, The Salvation Army continues to offer plenty of volunteer opportunities.
The intake process for families in need of assistance began Oct. 23 and will continue until Nov. 9.
According to volunteer coordinator Shonna Simms-Rosa, volunteers will assist families applying for Christmas programs, including Adopt a Family, Angel Tree and Toy Shop.
“Our Toy Shop program is wonderful because you take those families that were approved and you escort them through the Toy Shop at the distribution center,” Simms-Rosa said.
These toys are collected throughout the year by the United States Marine Corps.
According to Simms-Rosa, The Salvation Army needs 20 to 30 volunteers per shift because it is serving so many families in such a short period of time.
Generous volunteers help set up the toy shop, staff tables and assist families. The Toy Shop runs from Thursday, Dec. 13 to Tuesday, Dec. 18.
Volunteers who prefer to work behind the scenes can participate in Angel Tree by sorting and counting toys in preparation for Toy Shop. This opportunity takes place Dec. 19 and 20, according to Simms-Rosa.
Jeff Prisner of The Salvation Army said they need as many people as possible to ring bells for the 2012 Red Kettle campaign. The bell-ringing effort during the Christmas season starts Nov. 9 and lasts until Dec. 24.
“We have 37 locations on most days after Thanksgiving,” Prisner said. “As we get closer to Christmas, we’ll need more volunteers, obviously, because we will have more and more sites that we can bell-ring at.”
Those interested in bell-ringing can call (517) 482-9715 in November to arrange a date and location.
Other volunteer opportunities available through The Salvation Army include serving food for community meals in the gym at 525 N. Pennsylvania.
The Thanksgiving meal will take place Monday, Nov. 18 and the Christmas meal will occur Monday, Dec. 17.
Simms-Rosa roughly estimated the Capital Area Salvation Army receives over 500 volunteers for its Christmas programs each year.
“(Volunteers) are essential,” Simms-Rosa said. “We would not be able to assist and help the community the way we do without them.”
Those who are interested can register for volunteer opportunities at sawmni.org/lansing/volunteer-opportunities/