Maj. George Hood, chief communications and development officer for the Salvation Army, says the holiday season brings the most demand for its services. From volunteering time as a bell ringer or sponsoring a child or family in need, there are many ways for supporters to get involved.
While the most-coveted donation for the charity this year would be cash to help families directly, according to Hood, he also identified three other in-demand needs:
No. 1: Food. Giving food is a quick and easy way to help struggling families around the country. Wood advises not to wait until December to give as many Salvation Army chapters will be able to use the donated food to create Thanksgiving meals for families.
"We give a gift box to needy families. Give healthy, quality foods and things that don't spoil as quickly."
No. 2: Warm coats, clothing. The Salvation Army works to give needy children gifts during the holiday season through its Angel Tree program. Although many will ask for toys, Hood recommends donors think of the practical things a child will need in the cold weather.
"Many donors will buy everything off a child's list," Hood says. "It's important that warm coats, shoes and clothes should take place over the frivolous things."
No. 3: Utility bill help. With so many families unemployed and underemployed, Hood says a great way for donors to help out this year is to give money toward utility bills, which can be done online through the REACH program in partnership with the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
"We know of families that have been trying to find jobs for 36 months. This makes sure these families can keep their heat on this year,” Hood says.