Salvation Army hits goal

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Volunteers serve lunch at the Salvation Army on Court Street. They typically serve 80-100 people a day. From left to right: Neil Holt, Sheila Walk, Sandy Tischlen, Jonathon Green and Cheryl O'Bryan. --Colleen Thompson/Albert Lea Tribune

The Albert Lea Salvation Army raised almost $10,000 more than its goal for the organization’s 2012 campaign.

Even though the charitable organization was unable to reach its kettle goal of $91,000, the Salvation Army still was able to raise $223,000 and exceed its campaign goal for 2012. Its campaign ended Tuesday; the goal was $215,000.

A lady receives a meal of corn, fruit, pasta, and a hot dog. The Salvation Army serves lunch every day at 11:30 a.m.

Capt. Jim Brickson said he’s never missed a kettle goal before. Just over $79,000 was raised in just the kettles alone.

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“It really humbled me,” Brickson said.

But all in all, he’s happy that the campaign still was successful. He said he’s thankful for the many people who give to the Salvation Army, because he and the staff work hard to make sure people in the community are being served.

“We’re making sure the community’s taken care of,” Brickson said.

In 2012, the Salvation Army served more than 25,000 free meals to members of the community. It also assisted 6,000 families who came to the food shelf, some of whom may have had multiple family members. The Salvation Army also gave out $30,000 in financial assistance, gas vouchers and heating or rental assistance.

Volunteers dish up free hot food and soup for people of all ages at the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization dedicated to ministering by serving others and meeting both their material and emotional needs.

“I’m really pleased,” Brickson said.

He said he was glad to see the campaign goal reached so that programs can continue.

“Our budget is based on sustaining programs,” Brickson said. “Sure, it would be nice to put new carpeting in the building but that’s not in the budget. The budget wasn’t based on what we want; it’s based on what we need to sustain our programs.”

Money raised goes toward the meal site and food pantry (which are the most expensive to run) and toward social services staff and programs.

He said he doesn’t ever see the campaign goal going down; the staff have already made cuts and worked to do things smarter to save money. Previous campaign goals were: $202,000 in 2011, $186,000 in 2010, and $171,800 in 2009.

“We’ve got to be faithful,” Brickson said. “We’re doing the best we can.”

And while Brickson is glad to have done so well in the campaign, he said one type of “donation” is always welcome.

“Volunteers are at a premium,” Brickson said. “People are always saying they can’t give much, and I tell them just a couple hours a week can help us.”

To donate to the Salvation Army, mail or drop off a check at 302 Court St. in Albert Lea. There are also fundraisers throughout the year like food drives and Doughnut Days in May.