We need you - Salvation Army urges Jamaicans to donate, donate, donate
Published: Tuesday | March 24, 2009
John Williamson and Carol Sutherland, thrift store manager, go over sales figures at the Salvation Army's Lyndhurst Road offices in Kingston recently. - photo by Robert Lalah
When times are tough, the Salvation Army is normally around to lend a helping hand.
Now that the number of persons facing tough times has increased, it's the Salvation Army that needs help.
It makes sense after all; the economy takes a nosedive and everybody tightens up on spending. In tough times, people are also less inclined to make charitable donations.
However, that's where John Williamson, an executive director at the Salvation Army, comes in.
Williamson, a native of Australia, is in charge of the Salvation Army's operations at Lyndhurst Road and Peters Lane in Kingston. Though still relatively new to Jamaica and the Salvation Army, Williamson, who has a strong business background, is convinced he can weather the storm, help increase donations and, in the process, create a few dozen jobs.
"I want to create about 50 jobs in the next 12 months. We have a few plans to accomplish this, but one of the ideas is to place some emphasis on making church furniture, which we could turn into an export business for the country," he said.
Williamson has had casual talks with the Government to see how the two agencies can collaborate. In the meantime, he spends his weekends walking around Kingston handing out flyers soliciting donations for the Salvation Army.
"We really are just trying to get the word out as far as possible and ask persons to keep donating because the need is increasing," he said.
Over the last 11 months, sales at Salvation Army thrift stores have jumped by around 60 per cent asmore persons seek cheaper options for clothing.
Thrift stores offer mildly used clothes at minimal cost. Money generated at the stores helps fund the Salvation Army's many projects which include soup kitchens and a drug-rehabilitation centre.
"We want to ensure that the donations continue to meet the demand, even if the demand increases with the times," said Williamson.
Open more thrift stores
"Another part of our plans for creating jobs is to open more thrift stores," Williamson said. "Of course, we need to receive more donations in order to make this happen. You see, this is very important, because in times like these, every job we create is crucial."
So what does the Salvation Army need?
"We need locations and donations. That's what will help us to get to our goals and create jobs," said Williamson.
"We just need people to donate whatever they can, so that we can continue to help those who need us."
Donating to the Salvation Army is easy. Just drop off the items at the Salvation Army compound nearest to you, or call 908-0390.
Carol Sutherland, manager of the Salvation Army's thrift store at Lyndhurst Road in Kingston, shows off a jacket that is among the dozens of items on sale at the location. - photo by Robert Lalah