Joe Kingsley and Suzanne Lewis are standing out in the cold this holiday season so that other people won’t have to.
As temperatures hovered around 1 degree Fahrenheit on a chilly Tuesday afternoon, the two Salvation Army volunteers traded places in front of the group’s iconic red kettle at City Market.
They might have been well within their rights to complain about the bitter weather, but Kingsley, who came prepared for icy conditions, was only too happy to help the group raise money for people in need.
“It feels good standing in the sun,” he said Dec. 10. “I’m getting my Vitamin D.”
The last time that Kingsley and others volunteered for the kettle campaign, Moab-area residents donated more than $9,520 to the Salvation Army’s local program, which allowed the group to provide services to others for much of the year.
“The support that we get is amazing – it’s mind-boggling,” said Lenore Beeson, who coordinates the local program alongside Sara Melnicoff. “Everybody from every walk of life has been so generous.”
For every dollar that volunteers raised last year between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, about 90 cents stayed in the community.
The group sent the remaining 10 cents of each dollar back to the Salvation Army’s regional office in Denver. But any time that the local program began to run low on funds, the regional office was there to help out, according to Beeson.
“They give us back way more than we give them,” Beeson said.
Since February 2012, the local program has helped more than 200 people pay for everything from food, clothing, gasoline and hotel vouchers to prescription drugs, medical care and drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.
This holiday season, it plans to do the same. But right now, it has a particular focus: It wants to make sure that everyone has a warm place to stay, day and night.
“This winter being as cold as it is, we want to make sure we have enough funds,” Beeson said Dec. 9. “We don’t want anybody outside if we can help it.”
And despite persistent rumors to the contrary, if that person happens to be gay, bisexual or transgendered, Beeson said that he or she can depend on The Salvation Army’s help.
“There is no prejudice as far as The Salvation Army is concerned,” she said.
Anyone who would like to volunteer for the kettle campaign is encouraged to contact Lenore Beeson at: 435-260-2135.
ByBy Rudy Herndon