Summer means increased assistance, but decreased funding for Salvation Army

Salvation Army in Ottumwa

This week is National Salvation Army Week and the Salvation Army in Ottumwa hopes the week will highlight the programs the community doesn't know they offer.

Ottumwa's Salvation Army was founded in 1888 and will be celebrating their 125th birthday next year. Many know about the senior feeding program and Meals on Wheels program they offer, but there is much more going on behind the scenes, such as rent and utility assistance programs and a thrift store.

"A lot of people don't realize that our thrift store, all of the sales that we generate there, go back into these programs, help us buy food because the seniors pay very little because we want to be sure that they are able to afford it," Captain Tabitha Knuth said. "Also, it goes back into those rental assistance programs as well as the utility assistance programs."

The Salvation Army thrift store is currently being redone, and will hopefully hold a grand opening June 1.

Tuesday morning, the Salvation Army hosted its first breakfast pizza fundraiser with area Elliott Oil Companies. Anyone who made a monetary donation to the Salvation Army got a free breakfast pizza. Knuth said she hoped for a better turnout, but every little bit helps.

"When we hit the summer months, we start to slow down with our donations, but ironically our assistance just continues to go up... I guess it's not so ironic with the state of the economy, it's not really moving in a good direction fast, so we could definitely use more donations," Knuth said.

The Salvation Army is always looking for monetary donations, but if you cannot spare the money, volunteers and people donating their time goes a long way towards keeping programs running as well.