Bonnie Davis has been busy since she began working as Greene County Salvation Army’s director in July.
With the agency’s annual Red Kettle campaign about to begin, along with its need for donated winter clothing intensifying, she knows her job is about to get even busier.
But it’s more than OK for Davis. The ways she sees it, being busier means she’s being given the opportunity to help more people.
A lifelong Greene County native and a parent of three with her husband, Robert, Davis said she knows firsthand what it feels like to ask for and receive help.
“Many years ago, I was in a situation where I needed help, and I was given assistance by the Salvation Army,” she said. “I prayed for that help. And I got it. And that is why I am committed to others in the community. Anyone who needs help that comes to us will not be turned away. We will try everything possible to help.”
Salvation Army provides donated items at its building located at 131 W. First St. in Waynesburg, where those in need are able to visit once a week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and select up to 15 items if supplies are available.
The agency also assists with mortgage or rent payments, utilities, medication costs, clothing, small furniture when available and emergency food supplies. Salvation Army cannot accept any large furniture donations because of the limited warehouse space.
Davis said she is excited the agency just recently wrapped up its annual Angel Tree program, where children can be “adopted” and be given a gift. The agency also held its annual flea market at the building in October, where Davis said “truckloads” of items were donated.
Salvation Army also partners with other agencies, organizations, schools, churches, businesses individuals, state and local officials and various government departments in a wide array of programs.
As much as the agency tries to do for the community, however, the Salvation Army has its own needs – namely, volunteers, monetary donations and/or donations of clothes and other items.
“We encourage anyone wishing to donate physical items to bring the items to our office during open hours, which 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays,” she said. “But if you cannot do that, we have a storage shed behind our building where doors can open the door and leave their items inside.”
Davis said those donating items are asked to place them inside the shed, because leaving them outside could cause the items to become damaged by weather.
Davis said the agency currently has a serious need for duffel bags to be donated.
As for volunteering, Davis said her small but dedicated staff and group of volunteers work diligently at the building, but there is always a need for more volunteers, especially during the winter season.
The agency’s Red Kettle campaign officially begins soon with kettles expected to be set up at numerous locations throughout the county.
“We need bell ringers, from anywhere and everywhere,” said Davis, who has volunteered for the Red Kettle initiative in the past. “If anyone is interested in volunteering for the campaign, our calendar and sign-up sheet is available at our office and information such as location spots will also be posted on our Facebook page.”
Salvation Army will provide masks for bell ringers, and volunteers will be asked to practice social distancing and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19. Davis said all kettles will be thoroughly sanitized prior to the start of each shift.
Davis stressed that 100 percent of all donations that the Greene County Salvation Army receives through its initiatives always stays in Greene County.
Those wishing to help by making monetary donations may drop their funds in the kettles or drop by the agency office. Donors will also be able to use touchless online apps, such as Google, Paypal, Apple and Venmo, to make donations.
As for the Salvation Army director, Davis – who was previously employed in the county’s Community Development Block Grant and elections departments – said she is excited to be helping others.
“I truly love what I do, and I am very committed to helping others in need,” Davis said. “Greene County is my home, I love being here, knowing that I get to help people for a living. I needed help before, so I know that feeling of dread and worry. Through the Salvation Army’s help, I was able to find peace. Now I want to do everything I can to help others find that same peace.”