Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Salvation Army Issues a Call to Action for Metro Atlanta Residents

/PRNewswire/ -- Never has the demand for The Salvation Army's work been so dire, nor more taxing on its program staff, volunteers and operational resources. Record-breaking unemployment, hot weather, and the economy have The Salvation Army fielding some 40,000 calls a day from metro Atlanta residents struggling to make ends meet this summer. The Salvation Army is issuing a Call To Action asking metro Atlanta residents to phone, mail, or click donations of $50 or more to help raise an additional $300,000 in much-needed revenue by September 30, 2010.

"It's disheartening for our staff and volunteers to see and hear the calls for help from hurting individuals and families," says Major James Seiler, The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta Area Commander who says the Army is working diligently to try to meet the needs of the callers. "People are not just calling on the phones for our assistance."

Seiler notes an August 4th Back To School Bash at The Salvation Army's Lawrenceville facilities where more than 900 people showed up in hopes of receiving one of the 482 back to school backpacks the organization was distributing, as well as, the fact that since opening a new shelter for homeless families in November 2009, "177 families (which included 253 homeless children) have moved from the shelter to permanent housing and yet the beds are once again filled and calls are coming in everyday from more families seeking shelter."

While partnerships with agencies such as Georgia Power and United Way have provided the necessary funds to grant these callers emergency financial assistance, the cost to continue to serve these individuals and families in need is taxing the organization's operational expenses.

"Thus far, we've had to restructure our phone systems to allow a greater number of calls to get through, but the number of calls has already shut-down our phone system twice. We've also spent an additional $140,000 in overtime and other staff expenses to allow more hours to schedule appointments."

Seiler says with the recession forcing many local organizations to reduce their workforce and operational hours, The Salvation Army is one of the few remaining agencies where these callers can be referred and possibly receive help. "But, we need the community's full support to continue to meet these needs."

The Salvation Army is asking metro Atlanta residents with the capacity to give, to make a minimum $50 donation today through a number of user-friendly options.

Donations may be made by using the Call To Action link at www.salvationarmyatlanta.org, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, by mailing your donation c/o Call To Action, The Salvation Army PO Box 49247, Atlanta GA 30359.

Donors can share the Call To Action message through Facebook and Twitter widgets and get real-time updates at www.salvationarmyatlanta.org, or at www.facebook.com/salvationarmymetroatlanta.

"Additionally, we are reaching out to our major donors, corporate and foundation partners to raise an additional $500,000 in support," explains Seiler. "We are committed to meet these growing needs, and no stone will be left unturned in our efforts to do so."

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