Season of Giving
· Turlockers donated 3 percent more to the Salvation Army kettle drive than last year.
· Volunteers served 750 people at the free community Christmas Day dinner.
· 1,962 boxes of food were packed for families in need this holiday season.
· In total, there were about 1,232 volunteers who put in 9,856 hours of work for the Christmas dinner and putting boxes together for families.
Despite the down economy — or maybe because of it — Turlockers seemed to find a couple of extra dollars this holiday season to give to those in need.
According to Major Debi Shrum from the Salvation Army in Turlock, donations from the organization’s annual red kettle drive were up this year by 3 percent. This was an anomaly in the area, as county donations were down 14 percent overall.
“I think it’s just Turlock,” Shrum said. “Turlock people just give.”
Shrum did notice more smaller bills and change was donated in the kettles compared to previous years, but the total amount collected was still larger.
Volunteer numbers weren’t in yet for the bell ringers, but Shrum did notice that the volunteers were really good about filling in open spots and filling in for others, she said.
The Salvation Army joined with Turlock Together to host the traditional free community Christmas dinner. Volunteers served 750 people turkey, sweet potatoes, dressing, vegetables and dessert while Santa Claus made a special appearance to visit with the children. While the dinner was a much-needed meal for many struggling families, there were 300 fewer people served this year compared to 2009.
Shrum believes the decrease in people may be from the rain storm that poured on the community Christmas Day keeping many families at home who typically don’t have transportation other than walking.
Turlock Together — with the help of the Salvation Army and many other local organizations — put together 1,962 boxes of food for families in need this holiday season.
In total, there were about 1,232 volunteers who put in 9,856 hours for the Christmas dinner and putting boxes together for families. The volunteer numbers are up for the distribution of the boxes but the volunteer numbers were down to help serve the Christmas dinner.
Overall, Turlockers put in more time and gave more money to those in need this holiday season than in previous years.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.