By: Sarah Snyder
A growing need for help during the holidays. There's less volunteers and a drop in donations. That combination equals problems for the Salvation Army in West Texas and they're asking for your help to continue serving the Basin.
"We're a little dumbfounded by that ourselves," Lt. Stephen Correira with the Odessa Salvation Army, said. "We don't know why we're short, I just know people aren't responding like they normally do when it comes to our applicants."
The Salvation Army in both Midland and Odessa say they need volunteers willing to do just what Russ does every week.
"A lot of them they'll smile and nod to me and ask me 'how I'm doing' and they'll stop and talk to me," Volunteer Bell Ringer, Russ Keeney, said. "It's nice."
A simple task that drastically impacts the number of children who are helped each year.
"It keeps a lot of people off the street from staying out where it's cold and it gives kids a happy Christmas," Keeney said.
The Salvation Army has several people on staff who ring the bells, but right now, they're needing West Texans to volunteer.
"One of our greatest struggles is that when we don't have volunteers, we have to pay people to ring the bell," Captain Linda Keeney with the Midland Salvation Army, said. "And every time we pay someone it's taking money away from the Angel Tree program itself."
Not only are volunteers hard to find, but so far, donations are down. And with a growing need for help, it's creating a few problems.
"The Salvation Army is down about 8% in donations, but the demand for our services is up about 25-30%, so you can see the great disparity there as far as what's coming in and what's available to the public," Lt. Correira said.
"There's a much bigger need this year," Captain Keeney said. "We have over 500 families that have signed up for Christmas assistance which is about 125 more families than we had last year."
"We really need the community to help out the Salvation Army so that we can meet that need," Lt. Correira said.