Christ salvation

As the holidays approach, the Salvation Army of Onslow County is trying to meet the needs

With the cost of living rising and federal funding shrinking, the Salvation Army of Onslow/Jones County is struggling to meet all the needs that come their way.

The Salvation Army has served Onslow County since 1984, “meeting the basic needs of people in the community in the name of Jesus Christ without discrimination,” according to Onslow’s Salvation Army Corps officer and Jones County captain Christine Towne. She said the Jacksonville Salvation Army serves an average of 40 households each day, but things haven’t been easy lately.

The Salvation Army Help Desk has seen an increase in Pantry customers since the onset of COVID in 2020,” Towne said in an email. “Since then, we have juggled to procure enough food to meet the high demands for assistance with basic human needs. Our food pantry serves almost 40 households every day, if not more. nationwide daily living costs are making it difficult for many households to stay afloat.”

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Towne said that according to Foodbank NC, more than 28,000 people in Onslow County are food insecure. This represents 16% of the population and nearly 10,000 of them are children.

During the Salvation Army‘s fiscal year from October 1, 2021 to September 31, 2022, Towne said it assisted 55,912 customers with food worth $1,129,612.80. The Salvation Army also assists with vouchers for clothing and household items from the thrift store, as needed. She added that in the last fiscal year, 372 customers received clothing and household items through the vouchers.

Towne said when financial funding is available, the Salvation Army also helps with utilities or rent/mortgage assistance. During the last fiscal year, 185 clients received $26,846.88 in financial assistance from The Salvation Army.

“We get dozens and dozens of calls every day from our neighbors in need asking for help not only with food, but also with utility bills and rental payments,” Towne said. “With limited funding, it is heartbreaking that we do not have enough funds to help everyone who calls us. When we are unable to address a need directly, we try to help by informing customers of other resources community who may be available to act as a supportive safety net.We serve the whole body, striving to meet the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of those who come to us for help.

For those in Onslow who want to help out, Towne said they are accepting unexpired food donations Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Support Center is located at 461 Center Street in Jacksonville.

Food aid is distributed Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Towne said. Families can visit the pantry once every two weeks. They are closed on the second Tuesday and third Monday of each month for offsite food distributions.

The Red Kettle campaign helps more than 4 million people in the United States during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, according to the Salvation Army. [Tina Brooks/The Daily News]

More families in need as the holidays approach

As the holidays approach, the Salvation Army will be in need more than ever. Towne said the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program is in the works and helps provide Christmas gifts to hundreds of children in Jones and Onslow County each year.

“Every child deserves to experience the joy of Christmas morning,” Towne said. “Once a child has been registered and accepted as an angel, their Christmas wish list is shared with donors in our community who purchase gifts of new clothes and toys. The gifts are distributed to the family for be placed under their family Christmas tree.”

Last year, the Angel Tree program helped more than 580 children, according to the Jacksonville Salvation Army Facebook page. This year, however, the need is stronger. Towne said they expected to serve 650 families.

Families in need of enrolling their children, who live in Onslow County, should be referred to Angel Tree through a Department of Health and Human Resources social worker or counselor or from an Onslow County Schools teacher, Towne said.

Once referred, an invitation code will be issued and the registration process can begin. Towne said if families have questions during the registration process, they can call Angel Tree coordinator Sandy Middlebrooks at 910-376-1567 or Laura Hagerman at 910-346-8800.

Also on the horizon are the Red Kettles. Starting Nov. 11, Towne said the Salvation Army Red Kettles will be seen in the community and are a way for residents to immediately help those who need it most.

“The Red Kettles are our biggest fundraiser of the year – every dollar goes to helping the community throughout the year,” Towne said. “Your donations put food on the table for working families and individuals, help keep the lights on and warm homes this winter. We want this community to know that we are here – here to help or give you a place where you can help others.”

Anyone interested in volunteering at Red Kettle sites can contact Towne at 910-378-7840.

Every Sunday, The Salvation Army also offers worship services at 11 a.m. at 535 Bell Fork Road. They also offer weekly family nights on Wednesdays at 6 p.m.

For more information on all things Salvation Army, visit website, Facebook page or call 910-346-8800.

Journalist Morgan Starling can be reached at mstarling@gannett.com.