Giving back in so many ways

Salvation Army volunteers dedicate time to helping others
by Jeff Pederson Sheboygan Falls News Editor
Helping those in need.

For many Salvation Army of Plymouth Bread of Life Assistance Center volunteers, it’s a way of life.

During the holiday season, a host of service organizations, businesses and citizens step up to support a variety of Salvation Army programs, designed to provide assistance to those who need it most.

According to Plymouth Salvation Army Red Kettle Coordinator Deb Schalk, the work of volunteers is vital to the success of service and assistance programs not only during the holidays, but throughout the year as well.

“There are a number of civic groups that put in countless hours to do bell ringing during the holidays and help out with our toy distribution and food box programs,” Schalk said. “I can’t say enough about the hard work and dedication these volunteers put in.

“We can’t thank them enough for the way they support us and the community as a whole,” she said.

Red Kettle campaign bell ringers are highly visible, during the holiday season. The money raised through the Red Kettle fundraising campaign goes to support a variety of emergency assistance and outreach programs each year.

In the city of Plymouth, bell ringers can be seen on a regular basis at Piggly Wiggly, K-Mart and Wal- Mart, from Nov. 27 through Dec. 24.

“Many community groups and businesses step up each year to support our bell-ringing campaign,” Schalk said. “There are so many people that go above and beyond the call to help others.”

Schalk pointed to the major contributions of The Plymouth Women’s Civic Society, Knights of Columbus and local Masons.

“The Women’s Civic Society usually commits to four days of bell ringing for 12 hours each day,” Schalk said. “The Knights of Columbus and Plymouth Masons each do two days each holiday season.

“Those three groups stand out for all they have done over the past several years,” she said.

Schalk singled out the late Charlotte Hurlburt, who passed away on Oct. 26, as one of the key supporters of the Plymouth Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign.

“Charlotte was a long time member of the Plymouth Women’s Civic Society,” Schalk said. “She devoted herself to the Red Kettle campaign each year in such a big way.

“She was really good at roping people in to do bell ringing,” she said. “Charlotte passed away in October. We will miss her and the outstanding things she did for our community.”

Charlotte’s husband Donald said she was determined to assist the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign, despite serious health problems.

“Charlotte arranged the bell-ringing schedule and served as a bell ringer every year for many years,” Donald said. “I can’t really saw exactly how long she did it, but it was a long time.

“She was on portable oxygen for five years, but she never let that slow her down,” he said. “Her enthusiasm for volunteer work was never ending. She was involved with the Plymouth Senior Center, Meals on Wheels, the Plymouth Women’s Civic Society and the Plymouth Arts Center, just to name a few. She was an amazing person. I couldn’t keep up with her.”

Many other local youth and school groups, businesses and civic organizations donate anywhere from two to 20 hours to bell ringing each December.

Schalk singled out Paragon Community Services and Master’s Gallery Foods, both of which are covering 10 hours of bell ringing this season.

The Red Kettle campaign is also being supported this year by Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Cedar Grove Fire Department, the Plymouth Optimist Club, the Plymouth Police Department and Road America, as well as many other school groups, student councils, Key Clubs, FFA, National Honor Societies, church confirmation groups, grade-school classes, doctors’ offices and youth groups.

“Even with the support of all of these groups and individuals helping to ring the bells, we are still in great need of ringers to cover 1,500 hours at five locations in the Plymouth, Oostburg and Cedar Grove areas,” Schalk said. “We have some very loyal groups who have helped us without fail for so many years.

“Our goal right now is to entice a few others to do the same,” she said.

Along with the Red Kettle campaign, the Salvation Army organizes a handful of other holiday-themed support programs.

Salvation Army volunteers are currently in the process of packing Christmas food boxes to be distributed to low-income seniors, who lack family support.

“We are currently putting together food boxes for distribution in the next several week,” Schalk said. “The food comes to us through donations, and some of it is purchased by the Salvation Army through financial donations.”

The Salvation Army will partner with St. Vincent DePaul of Plymouth to conduct a toy-distribution program at the Plymouth Armory Saturday, Dec. 12.

The program provides Christmas toys to qualified children 14 years of age and under.

The annual Children’s Secret Christmas Shoppe allows children ages 3 to 11 to get a Christmas gift for their parents.

The Plymouth Salvation Army supports 11 area communities, including Adell Oostburg, Cedar Grove, Elkhart Lake, Plymouth, Greenbush, Random Lake, Waldo, Hingham, Glenbeulah and Batavia.

“We serve selected communities and designated areas in Sheboygan County,” Schalk said. “We provide assistance to many of the smaller communities in the county, while the Sheboygan Salvation Army covers Sheboygan, Howards Grove, Kohler and Sheboygan Falls.”

Along with its many holiday programs, the Salvation Army of Plymouth Bread of Life Assistance Center organizes and supports the following programs:
• Vouchers and financial assistance for emergency needs.
• Inmate-release clothing program at Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution.
• League of Mercy Easter and Christmas gifts to nursing-home and assisted-living residents.
• Community Easter dinner.
• Emergency food pantry.
• Monthly bingo.
• Cookie and candy distribution to Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution inmates.
• Sal’s Cupboard – Monthly food box delivery upon referral from a physician or hospital-care consultant.
• Rainbow Kids support.
• Winter wear to Head Start program participants.
• Sheboygan County Fair community booth.
• Mother’s Day boxes to single mothers.
• Samaritan purse boxes – Donating school supplies and small gift items to children in other countries.
• Community fundraisers – Brat fries, Culvers Scoopie Night, Pizza Ranch.
• Monthly birthday parties at the Plymouth Senior Center.
• Contribute back to school supplies handed out by St. Vincent DePaul.
For more information, to donate or to volunteer to assist the Plymouth Salvation Army, call 893-4076.

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