Shamokin Facing Fundraising Challenges

Dec 14, 2020

ELYSBURG — The Salvation Army of Shamokin has collected 25% of what it has in years past, but there is still time to donate toward the charitable organization.

All of the money raised locally by the Salvation Army remains in the community and is used throughout the year to help needy families to pay for rent, utilities, food and other necessities.

Several factors have led to the decrease in donations, including quarantines among volunteers that forced a slow start to the annual drive, according to Salvation Army supervisor Judy Orner.

The Salvation Army is also facing issues with finding volunteers to stand watch at the kettles and ring the bell.

Members of the Southern Columbia Area High School football are among the volunteers assisting the Salvation Army. Players have been manning the kettle between 4 and 8 p.m. the past several days at Boyer’s Food Markets in Ralpho Township.

On Monday, junior Gavin Garcia, who recently led the Tigers to their 11th state championship under head coach Jim Roth, and his brother Garrett Garcia, a freshman on team, fulfilled the team’s first of two shifts of the day.

“It’s a great cause to come out here to raise money. The Salvation Army does a great job every year collecting money for people who need it,” Gavin said.

Last year the team collected donations at the Coal Township Walmart. Gavin complimented his teammates and area residents for once again supporting the Red Kettle Campaign, which was started in 1891 by Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee as a way to feed destitute and poverty-stricken people of San Francisco.

“It’s a great community to be in, and I am glad we are doing our part as the Southern Columbia football team,” Gavin said of the area. “There are a lot of people donating money to the right cause.”

Just a few miles east of the grocery store, people driving through Knoebels Amusement Resort's Joy through the Grove at no cost thanks to the generosity of the Patton family were asked to consider paying the gesture of goodwill forward by donating to the Salvation Army.

Kettles were placed at the entrance of the holiday exhibit in an effort to boost fundraising efforts that, according to Orner, have suffered tremendously this year due to COVID-19.

"You may not see the effects 100% right now with our Christmas distribution, but the effects you will see through 2021 because there's such a need right now for what we do," Orner said of the below average fundraising numbers thus far.

She thanked Knoebels for its generosity in allowing the kettles to be placed at the entrance of Joy through the Grove.

"We are extremely appreciative for everything that Knoebels does for the community in partnership with us," she said. "Not only this, but for all the things through the years — the duck drop (fundraiser) and donations of various items throughout the year."

Orner said those who wish to volunteer to help with the kettle campaign can reach the local Salvation Army office at 570-644-0486 and leave a message.

She reminded those who may be in need for Christmas that there is still time to reach out to the Salvation Army to make arrangements.

People wishing to donate to the kettle campaign can also do so in contactless fashion by giving online at


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