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Salvation Army says volunteer numbers are down 50%

The Central Ohio Salvation Army says without more volunteers it will be lucky to get half of its annual $600,000 in donations.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — During a global pandemic, it can be tough doing the most good. But tough doesn’t mean impossible.

“I think during Covid we’re more motivated to do the most good,” Central Ohio Salvation Army Area Coordinator, Tricia Brennan, said.

Brennan could tell you what’s wrong. She could tell you how there are 12,000 hours in two-hour shifts for bell ringers that need to be filled and how, right now, the Salvation Army is at 5% of the number of those volunteers needed to help make that happen.

She could tell you how because overall volunteer numbers are down 50%, the Salvation Army will do good just to hit half of its $600,000 annual donation goal.

“All of our programs in central Ohio are supported by the donations that we collect during this time of year,” Brennan said.

Programs that help with material assistance, anti-trafficking, learning centers and housing. Still, Brennan says she’s hopeful.

She’s hopeful for volunteers like Kim Dennis.

“Yeah, and I think it’s a way to get our children involved, too,” Dennis said.

Dennis and her family have been volunteering for more than 15 years. This year, though, she knew she needed to pitch in even more.

“I think there’s a greater need,” she said.

She knows the need is up, volunteering is down and the world is going sideways. Because of all of that, she says she had to show up for the families who receive the help.

“Each and every year there’s been someone who has approached my family and said ‘Gosh, we’re so glad to see you here and this is how [The Salvation Army] impacted us’,” Dennis said.

She’s seen central Ohio’s generosity. She’s hoping she’ll see it again in 2021. It’s why she stands in the cold, bell in hand, knowing, for her, she is doing the most good.

To donate online, or to learn more about volunteering in your area, click here.

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