When someone needs emergency assistance such as food or clothing, the local Salvation Army has been there to help. Now the public is being asked to boost a key part of its operation.
The Salvation Army Family Store on Frederick Street normally is a place where one can find bargains on clothing and other items — but lately shelves there have become a little bare.
“We have dropped down pretty low on our donations,” Maj. Michael Rodgers, head of the Salvation Army in Mount Airy, said of the primary source for the store’s inventory. While most retail entities can simply have items shipped from a central warehouse when they run low, the Salvation Army must rely on contributions from the community for its re-stocking.
“And we’re kind of concerned,” Rodgers said of the situation. Not only is the Salvation Army Family Store a repository for clothing, furniture and other donations the agency gives to victims of fires or other disasters to help them get a new start, income from merchandise sold to the public there also is used to fund outreach and additional programs of the Salvation Army as a whole.
Linda Adame, the manager of the store, said she can’t point to any one factor that is responsible for the dip in donations. But while surveying empty shelves in its showroom Monday, Adame pointed out that the demand for items isn’t waning.
“We got in some stuff Saturday, but it’s only going to last a day or two,” the store manager said. Usually, “our shelves are packed full and the back is so full you can’t move,” Adame added of a rear area where merchandise is stored temporarily until moved onto the floor.
Rodgers said the stockpiles at the store are the lowest in the three-and-a-half years he has headed the Salvation Army in Mount Airy.
On Monday, he issued a special appeal for clothing, furniture, electronic equipment such as television sets which are in good working order, household goods, pots and pans, “anything anybody can donate to us,” Rodgers said. “The only thing we do not accept is mattresses.”
The Salvation Army official stresses that items contributed be “gently used” and still operable, in order to be marketable in the store or given to someone in need.
Rodgers said the family store is an important component in funding the local Salvation Army’s mission, which not only includes serving people in need across Surry County, but Alleghany County and some in Carroll and Patrick counties in Virginia.
He mentioned that everything donated here is used for the benefit of local residents and does not go into any kind of national fund or stockpile.
Items can be dropped off the store, located at 220 Frederick St., which has a loading dock to accommodate larger deliveries. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
Pickups of donations also can be arranged at 786-9253.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.