Salvation Army collects $30K; local office planned

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 21, 2011

After the success of the recent Salvation Army Red Kettle drive, organization officials are now looking to establish a service center in Andalusia.

Sonny James, local drive coordinator, said Covington County residents raised nearly $30,000 from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve.

James, who is a local attorney, established and coordinated the drive in less than two weeks, organizing volunteers to stand outside Wal-Mart, ringing the bell for donations during the holiday season.

Now, the Salvation Army, the evangelical organization dedicated to brining people into a meaningful relationship with God while providing for the community’s needs, hopes to give locals a new office where they can access the funds raised in their community, said Brenda Furqueron, SA area director.

“The Salvation Army is leaner than it used to be, and we don’t have to have the thrift stores,” Furqueron said. “Now, locally, what the Salvation Army does is provide financial services for all of Covington County. You make application to qualify for our services, which include helping with rent and mortgage costs, utilities, medical costs, lodging for emergency travel, food – and what many people don’t realize, help with burial costs.”

Furqueron said she hopes by providing a local office, residents will see firsthand how their donations are being used.

“Our goal is to have that office open by May,” she said. “All we really need is place for a desk and a copy machine. Once we have that we can begin the next step of the process, which is finding out exactly what services are available locally, coordinating with those services and then getting retailers set up where they can accept our vouchers.”

Furqueron said the Salvation Army does not want to duplicate services.

“For example, if someone received utility assistance from, say OCAP, we don’t want to give that person assistance as well,” she said. “That way, there’s more money to go around and more people it can benefit.”

Furquereon commended James and his army of volunteers for making the drive a success.

“Covington County raised more money than Coffee and Dale counties,” she said. “That’s saying a lot about the generosity of this community.”

Until a local service center can be established, locals needing assistance or those wishing to make a donation can contact the Ozark service center at 334-445-3070.