The Salvation Army in Montclair continues its tradition of caring for the neediest of its neighbors. Once again this year, the organization will serve Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings to more than 200 people at its site on 13 Trinity Place in Montclair, starting at noon on Thanksgiving Day.
“It is a bittersweet experience for us,” says Major Larry Ashcraft, corps officer. “We love helping people. That’s our mission and passion. Unfortunately, with the economic downturn, there will be people in record numbers asking for our help.”
In addition to the seating at the facility, the organization will be delivering nearly 1,200 meals to area shelters and shut-ins.
“We run this on almost all volunteer help,” Ashcraft continued. “We depend on donated turkeys and food, but do end up paying for the paper supplies, some food and labor for some of our paid staff on that day. Those expenses continue to rise."
The organization is in the midst of its annual Christmas Fundraising Campaign, which also helps fund Thanksgiving and the ongoing year-round operations. The organization needs to raise about a quarter of its annual budget this Christmas— or nearly $250,000.
“Between now and Christmas it is make-or-break time for us financially. We have several fundraisers, our annual red kettle campaign and mail campaign,” says Ashcraft. “The issues of hunger and homelessness are year-round. We run a shelter that operates 365 days a year. We gave around 6,000 nights of shelter in that facility. We feed in excess of 10,000 meals a year. That takes volunteers and money.”
The volunteer base for the Thanksgiving Day dinner is strong. The organization also has nearly 300 volunteers during the year who help.
To donate food or money for this Thanksgiving and Christmas please contact The Salvation Army at 13 Trinity Place Montclair, New Jersey, 07042. You can also donate at a red kettle that will be placed in front of local stores between now and Christmas Eve.