Inside This Issue • Christmas was saved for thousands in need • A note from the Executive Director • How you can help us remain “Here For Good”
a note from executive director linda lopez We have many Christmas traditions in our family. Some were born out of special moments that we want to recreate year after year, like hosting a gingerbread building party with family friends. Others were born out of necessity, like having Chinese carry-out every Christmas Eve because one year I just couldn’t manage cooking a big Christmas dinner and figuring out what to feed everyone the night before. The annual Christmas Bureau Distribution Day has many traditions of its own, but this year COVID turned our typical distribution upside down out of necessity to keep everyone safe. We changed locations. Distribution became an outdoor, drive through event. Families received electronic gift cards for toys instead of shopping with their volunteer shopper and picking from toy gift shops. More than 15,000 toys went out by the bagful to 46 schools and community organizations to give out to the children they serve. Food boxes were placed in car trunks instead of being handed off from volunteer to recipient with a Christmas hug. To be honest, there were times this fall when we were not sure the Christmas Bureau would happen. But just like the first Christmas, miracles began to happen. A donated building by VIP Structures in the heart of downtown… a local company, Drive Research, creating
Director of Family Services, Sidney Germinio, hauling a bag of toys for a local agency. 44 agencies, schools, and nursing homes received more than 15,000 toys to distribute safely.
Intersurgical Complete Respiratory Systems spoiled our clients this Christmas. They stuffed backpacks with hoodies, phone chargers, headphones, and more for our homeless youth at Booth House. They also adopted a family in need – buying and wrapping all their gifts – even for the cat!
an online registration system… the Food Bank of CNY providing 2,100 packed boxes of frozen food (and donating dry goods for a second box for every family)… Centro shuttling families back and forth all day long from the main bus hub…incredibly generous gifts from The Hayner Hoyt Corporation and the COVID-19 Community Support Fund to purchase toy gift cards for 5,000 children… Northeast Decorating & Exhibit creating a holiday wonderland inside the garage… youth sports teams and local companies collecting rolls of Christmas wrapping paper to add a festive touch to every box. Despite COVID, all of the most important traditions of the Christmas Bureau stayed intact. The determination to help families have what they need to celebrate the holidays. The overwhelming generosity and kindness of our community. A lot of Santa hats on our volunteers, and underneath all our protective masks, big smiles as we celebrated the Christmas season by giving to others. It was a great day. Thank you to all of you who helped make Christmas special for families in need.
Santa Claus made an appearance at Distribution Day on Dec. 16, 2020. He waved to families inside their vehicles as boxes of food and gift cards were loaded in by volunteers.
Michael Eason, with Olinsky Law Group, stands with dozens of gifts for our senior adults. They shopped for things like throw blankets, artificial, decorative plants, fleece sweatshirts, and puzzle game books. Also pictured, senior Emmett Bidwell receiving his Christmas gift with a big smile under his mask.
Who would have Thought...? Who of us would have thought in March of 2020, that we would still be battling COVID-19 nearly a year later? I remember speaking with one of our officers early on and sharing that I felt we were in this for the long haul—and that proved ever so true. A Salvation Army Christmas usually begins in the summer months, or at least by early September. There are two huge components: fundraising and distribution. As we approached Fall, and the number of cases was not subsiding it became very clear this Christmas would present challenges we hadn’t seen in 155 years. The questions began. Would any stores allow us to physically ring bells at our red kettles? Would volunteers want to ring bells? Could we conduct a safe kettle campaign? One month out—many of those questions remained unanswered. But by Thanksgiving, and our corporate partners worked with us to pull off a safe and successful kettle campaign. Due to the uncertainty of the world we are currently living in, we couldn’t rely on just
red kettles for our Christmas fundraising. We had to implement new ways to “Rescue Christmas” in 2020. Text codes, virtual kettles, QR codes, and good old-fashioned paper checks. Together, it worked. We also held our first-ever Red Kettle Telethon on CNY Central. They did a tremendous job showcasing what The Salvation Army does in the Syracuse community and helped us raise $45,000 in 12 hours. A huge word of thanks to CNY Central, Northland Communications and The Hayner Hoyt Corporation for their telethon sponsorship. So in the end, how did it all pan out? Did Onondaga County residents help to “Rescue Christmas”? Did they ever! They rang bells with masks on, they matched red kettle donations, they set up their own virtual kettles. In the end, COVID-19 did not stop Christmas! So, a huge THANK YOU to all our donors, supporters, and volunteers. Be safe and God’s richest blessings on your new year.
Chip Hodgkins Team of HUNT Real Estate ERA sponsored the red kettles for a weekend by matching donations up to $5,000.
The Hayner Hoyt Corporation donated $100,000 to The Salvation Army to help “Rescue Christmas” for families in Syracuse. Staff members also volunteered on Distribution Day.
–Major David Dean
The need in our community goes
beyond C hristmas
CNY Central anchor Megan Coleman and Executive Director Linda Lopez after raising more than $45,000 at our first-ever red kettle telethon.
Help us help the most vulnerable as we continue to battle COVID-19. Text ‘SyracuseSA’ to 41444 to donate.
Laura Hand, former CNY Central anchor and long-time Salvation Army Board Member, answered the phone and took donations from callers during the telethon.
Syracuse Division 677 South Salina Street Syracuse, New York 13202
Thank you for helping to
rescue C hristmas The need is still present. Help us be...
Text 'SyracuseSA' to 41444 to donate
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The Salvation Army of Syracuse, NY