The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia launched its Christmas in July campaign, a month-long series of fundraising events to meet basic needs for Philadelphians who require assistance to stay healthy, active and safe during the summer. Salvation Army volunteers will staff red kettles at selected Center City locations every Tuesday in July in the hope of raising awareness — and funds.
“Collectively across our locations in Philadelphia, we have noticed people are coming to us more this year as a result of cuts in food stamps, layoffs, evictions, cuts in benefits and other difficult situations,” said Ted Lewis, senior caseworker at The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia. “We see more and more people who need help with making rent or who can’t afford to buy food for the family because their rent went up. We continue to do the most good for Philadelphia and the rest of our nation in a time of increased need, but we do rely on the help of our community to make this happen.”
The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia has seen a six percent increase in individuals seeking food assistance to feed their families, and the demand for clothing for the family has increased 57 percent.
“As a consistent and reliable provider of food, shelter, and emergency assistance to the area, we’re working to keep up with an increased demand for services,” said Major Robert Dixon, director of operations for The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia. “Thankfully, the public thinks of the Salvation Army during the holidays, to bring joy and hope to the less fortunate facing cold and hunger. But the need is equally strong in the summer, when seniors are isolated in sweltering apartments, and younger people are out of school needing structure and guidance. Christmas in July helps us fill the gap.”
In addition to meeting housing and food needs, Christmas in July donations will allow children who have never left the city to attend a week at Camp Ladore in the Pocono Mountains. Children between the ages of 7 and 16 will learn how to swim, and enjoy 1,400 acres of pristine woodlands and trails. Some of the activities include fishing, soccer, volleyball, music instruction and Bible study. The Salvation Army also offers summer athletics, music, art and academic activities. All of the kids’ activities are offered at ten community centers in low-income neighborhoods throughout the city.
“Youth in the city are growing up in tough times,” Dixon said. “Because of the situation in the Philadelphia School system, a lot of the buildings where programs would operate during the summer are now closed. We wanted to step up and continue to provide summer programs for our youth. Because of the limited options for young people, we have seen a rise in our youth services. People are coming to us because they don’t have anything to do — and they don’t want their children running the streets.”
The Salvation Army will continue its viral “Cell Ringer” campaign. The campaign urges the public to become actively involved in The Salvation Army by texting the word JULY to 80888 from a mobile phone to make a one-time donation to the organization for $10.
“The Cell Ringer campaign is just another way for us to reach out to the community,” Dixon said. “We care about what’s going on in the community, and we are doing everything that we can to help. We just want people to realize how important any donation to Salvation Army is. All donations will help Philadelphians who are in need during these summer months and beyond.”
For more information on the Christmas in July campaign call (215) 787-2800 or visit salvationarmyphiladephia.org.