Salvation Army Vail makes holidays brighter with food donation
Local donors delivered food boxes and hope this Christmas
It has been a challenging time for all nonprofits this year. Due to COVID-19, Salvation Army Vail hasn’t been able to host its usual fundraisers except for the Red Kettle campaign, which typically happens between mid-November and Christmas. Even so, the Red Kettle campaign is only a small portion of the nonprofit’s annual budget and less people came out to ring the bell and less people were in the grocery stores this year. But, Salvation Army Vail had a brighter Christmas season than expected due to the support of some generous donors.
“Since COVID-19 hit, Salvation Army Vail has been inundated with requests for help with food, rent, utilities, prescription assistance and more,” said Anne Barnett, who is the volunteer board chair for Salvation Army Vail. “Requests for food are up 40%. We normally give out about 400 boxes of food each month but it’s been closer to 600. That represents about 3,000 people a month, just for food assistance.”
Since the pandemic hit, Salvation Army Vail has been working hard to keep food on the shelves and keep up with the everyday demand.
“We didn’t think we’d be able to do our annual Christmas boxes this year and at our board meeting we decided not to tax our resources anymore than we were already stretched,” Barnett said.
Word got out about the holiday boxes not going to families this season and then a phone call came in to Salvation Army Vail’s Avon office.
“One of our donors stepped up and said, ‘we’ll pay for all of it,’ and the next thing we knew a semi-truck load of boxes from the Feed the Children organization was on its way,” Barnett said. Feed the Children helps families domestically and internationally and provides aid like food and other resources.
“We were elated. This donation allowed us to provide holiday food baskets on top of all of the other needs we are trying to cover right now,” Barnett said.
The donation came from James and Lisa Wallace, part-time residents of Bachelor Gulch who have helped Salvation Army Vail with the holiday boxes the past few years.
“God has blessed us so much in our lives. We believe in giving back, especially to faith-based charities like Salvation Army Vail,” said James Wallace. “Food is a basic necessity and a building block for helping people achieve a better future. We support the efforts in our community that help those who are a vital part of our local workforce.”
Unloading 800 large boxes of food, which equals 25,000 pounds, is no small feat. The Wallace’s were there from the moment the truck drove up until the last box had been unloaded. They also enlisted the help of some of their friends.
“James and Lisa have a lot of connections at the valley’s restaurants so they got folks from La Nona, Splendido and Matsuhisa to work alongside Scott Leonard’s team from The Vail Church and our other fabulous volunteers to get the truck unloaded,” Barnett said.
The semi-truck arrived on Dec. 17 and on Dec. 19 Salvation Army Vail had coordinated a drive thru pick up station at their office parking lot for those who had applied for holiday boxes of food.
“We had about 400 households who applied in advance, but we gave boxes out to anyone in need that came through,” Barnett said. Those who applied also got a $25 gift card to City Market.
“We’ve already given out half of the boxes but this large donation will help us save money through January since we won’t have to buy more for that month. We still have a long winter ahead,” Barnett said. “We are only limited by the resources that we receive, the more we get the more we can give. There is still a great need out there.”
Barnett meets many people who are in need of food or worried about being evicted. Salvation Army Vail has recently helped over 500 people with rental assistance.
“I had one man come in on a Friday and he said ‘I don’t want to be here. I’m ashamed to be here. I get paid on Monday but I just need food for my kids over the weekend,’ and these are hardworking people, they are just down for a bit. It can be hard for them to walk through a food line and ask for help. Our goal is to help people maintain their dignity,” Barnett said.
To learn more about how you can help Salvation Army Vail, visit vail.salvationarmy.org.
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