Salvation Army sees community’s need, generosity

MARYSVILLE — Signs of our current economic downturn are all around us and the Salvation Army is no exception.

Sean Kelsey, outreach coordinator for the Salvation Army in Marysville, spoke to The Marysville Globe about the increase in need that he’s seen, as well as the generosity from the community.

“This Thanksgiving, we saw 95 people show up to our dinner,” Kelsey said. “Normally, it’s around 35 or 40. We’re seeing more people show up at our Wednesday meals.”

Those meals have been held at the Marysville American Legion building, at 119 Cedar Ave., from 5-7 p.m. each Wednesday for nearly a year. According to Kelsey, they give people in need a place to talk about their struggles with those who understand where they’re coming from.

“One of the touching parts was that, this Thanksgiving, the group talked about what they were thankful for and everyone was thankful for a place like this,” Kelsey said. “The Lake Stevens Albertsons donates food on the first Wednesday of every month, and the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Marysville donates on the second Wednesday. The rest of the month, it’s an assortment of other local groups. My wife Bonnie and I are the only ones who actually work for the Salvation Army. Everyone else is a volunteer, and we average 10-12 of those a week.”

In addition to feeding attendees, Sean Kelsey provides them with information on area food banks and other service organizations, while Bonnie Kelsey serves as the “kettle coordinator.” The collection kettles for the Salvation Army not only generate donations for the organization, but also provide part-time jobs for “bell-ringers” during the holiday season.

“Maybe they’ve been laid off, or maybe they just need help making ends meet,” Sean Kelsey said. “Either way, we’re able to give them about a month of employment.”

While Kelsey appreciates the support the Salvation Army has received from the community, he noted that they could always use more, especially during the winter, when holiday toys and warm clothes are in demand. He added that good condition jackets and new undergarments are among the items that people need.

The Salvation Army’s Marysville offices are located in Suite C-1B on 1326 Fifth St. Kelsey can be reached directly by phone at 360-926-2228.

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