The local Salvation Army is facing the possibility of cutting back services here in light of a poor response to its annual “Red Shield Appeal” campaign.
“This year has been the worst year in my three years in Fort Frances,” said Capt. Angel Sandoval. “The support of the community has been minimal compared with previous years.”
At the beginning of May, Capt. Sandoval had noted they needed to raise $33,000 in order to operate this year. Halfway through the campaign, though, they had managed to raise only $4,000, plus another $1,500 from local businesses for a total of $5,500.
Seeing they would not be able to reach their target, Capt. Sandoval approached the Salvation Army’s office in Winnipeg.
“They agreed to support us with half of our needs for this fiscal year,” he said, noting the Winnipeg office will contribute $16,000.
“We are still far behind the $17,000 we actually need,” he added.
“I’m really concerned about saying no to people in need when they knock on our doors,” continued Capt. Sandoval. “[But] if we don’t have the economic support, it’s impossible to help them.
“When we deny help to a family in need, my heart is broken.”
In order to raise community awareness, Capt. Sandoval wants to form an advisory committee.
“I am proposing to the community to start working with an advisory board who can guide us, support us, and give fresh ideas to the work that we do in Fort Frances and the district,” he said.
Capt. Sandoval is hoping to find seven-10 people to sit on the board, including some young people.
“We need young blood, people who really want to do something positive for the community,” he stressed.
Besides the lack of monetary donations, it also has been difficult to recruit volunteers to help with the door-to-door canvassing here.
“I know there are many, many people who want to help, but are confused who to help,” Capt. Sandoval said, noting there are many charities vying for the public’s attention.
“The money we raise is the money we use in our community,” he pledged.
In addition to the canvassing, Capt. Sandoval said he sent out 2,000 letters to local businesses asking for their support. Only about two percent of them responded, he noted.
“I am asking the community to think about the needs of our district,” he stressed. “I am asking all who embrace the Rainy River District to think and take into consideration the help that is important for our ministry.
“Need has no time, no season, no specific month,” he added. “Need can touch us any day of the year, and we want to be here to help those in need.”
Anyone wishing to donate to the local Salvation Army can do so in person at the office at 316 Victoria Ave., by mail to that address, or on-line (though on-line donations take much longer to arrive).
Anyone wishing to get involved with the advisory board can contact Capt. Sandoval at 274-3871.
The Salvation Army has been in existence in Fort Frances for 92 years.
“We want to celebrate our 100 years soon,” Capt. Sandoval said. “The past has been so rich here and we want to continue the legacy of the Salvation Army in Rainy River District.”
(Fort Frances Times)