Salvation Army seeking donations to prepare for holiday season

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- As theholiday season approaches, the Jonesboro Salvation Army is turning to thecommunity for help. The commander over the Jonesboro branch says they are shorton money and food for the shelter.

Major Debra Gesner is a commander with the Jonesboro Salvation Army and said with the weather getting cooler, they expect morepeople to come to their shelter. But she said without the funds they won't beable to feed them.

"During thistime of year we are like $10,000 dollars short so we can't even go buy groceriesfor our emergency shelter or for the pantry, as you can see it's pretty empty," Gesner said.

She said withthe government shutdown at hand more people are holding on to their donations.

"Things arejust very tight, we are really stretching every penny," Major Gesner said. "Not spending unlesswe absolutely have to or need because how short on cash we are."

She said some of the shelter's bills are not getting paid because they don't have enough money to spread around.

Gesner saidthe Salvation Army is the only emergency shelter in the Jonesboro area.

"If we weren'there, there would be many people who would go without food and clothes orwithout a place to stay, this is the only emergency shelter here in Jonesboro," she said.

But withoutdonations, she said they may have to turn people away.

"We justhave to say 'I'm sorry this is what we have', it may be all we have is greenbeans but we can give you green beans,"Gesner said.

Not only arethey concerned about their current lack of funding but also their funding duringthe holiday season.

"This is ashorter Christmas season, last year it's five weeks, this year it's 4 weeks andour goal is $110,000 dollars so that we really need to make in order to make it stretchthrough the year," she said.

Gesner saidthey help about 700 families during the holidays.

"This is a great community for taking care oftheir own people," she said.

Gesner saidthey are asking for non-perishable food and cash donations. You can send monetary donations to Salvation Army, P.O. Box 726 Jonesboro, Arkansas 72401.

Gesner said they are also in need of folding tables and chairs, packs of razors, shaving cream, women's sanitary items, diapers and baby wipes.

The Salvation Army will begin taking applications for their Christmas Assistance Program starting October 28 through October 31.

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