Reading Feeds over 900 Families

Nov 25, 2020


READING, Pa. – The Salvation Army’s iconic Red Kettles are popping up all over Reading now that the official fundraising season is underway. For the first time in 130 years, The Salvation Army began its Red Kettle season early this year as part of a nationwide effort to “Rescue Christmas” for the growing number of people suffering from the economic effects of the pandemic. A virtual campaign started in mid-September with online donations, and the standing kettles kicked off Tuesday with a press conference outside The Salvation Army’s Reading Citadel Community Center.

Concurrent with the press conference, community members in need lined up to receive food boxes which contained all the trimming for a nutritious Thanksgiving meal, as well as additional meals for the week. Food was handed out on a first-come, first-served basis from 7:30 a.m. until just after 1:00 p.m.

“Normally, we feed about 750 families at Thanksgiving time,” shared Major Darren Mudge, Corps Officer of the Reading Citadel center. “With the pandemic, though, we’ve been faced with unprecedented needs in the Reading community. Today, we’re feeding nearly 1000 families in need which is more than twice the number of families that we serve in a month. Giant Food donated 200 turkeys and Reading Hospital donated 750 turkeys. We wouldn’t be able to help anywhere near the amount of people this year without help from community partners and donors who give what they can. Every little bit means we can continue to serve on the frontlines and meet pressing needs. We are grateful for every donation.”

One person who knows first-hand how The Salvation Army saves lives is State Representative-Elect Manny Guzman, Jr., of the 127th Legislative District. While Guzman will be sworn into office Dec. 1, he remembers where he came from, and who was there to help when times were tough during his childhood.

“I can’t tell you how many times The Salvation Army has come through for my family – whether  it be a Thanksgiving dinner, or Christmas presents for my siblings and me,” Guzman said. “Our holidays were a little warmer, thanks to the help we received.”

“With these lived experiences in mind, and as we work towards a post-COVID world, we must ensure that the needs of marginalized communities like Reading are at the forefront of our recovery efforts,” he told the crowd.

In the last eight months, Major Mudge and his staff have served more than 331,000 meals to more than 43,700 people who needed food to survive. In order to keep the food and other services coming to clients in need, The Salvation Army will have to beat the odds. There aren’t as many kettles this year due to more people opting for home delivery and curbside pickup. The national coin shortage has more people using credit and debit cards rather than paper cash and coins. There also aren’t as many bell ringers due to the global health crisis.

“We’ll have 20 big kettles around the Reading area plus 40 smaller counter kettles that will be near the cashier as consumers pay their bills at area businesses,” Major Mudge explained.  “People will have plenty of opportunities to give in person. But they can also give online.

To learn more about how you can help Rescue Christmas, please visit our website.


Original Source: BCTV

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