TORONTO -The city chamber hosted officers from the city unit of the Salvation Army during its Thursday luncheon meeting at the North River Avenue Christian Church.
Doris Starr, treasurer and co-director of the the unit, explained the Salvation Army's mission and its purpose to chamber members. She said the organization has been busy in the Gem City since it was re-organized in 1984.
"(We have) volunteers in the office (from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays," said Starr, adding the office is in the Toronto Riverview United Methodist Church, 105 N. River Ave. "We aren't subject to government regulations."
HELPING THE PUBLIC — Doris Starr, treasurer and co-director of the Toronto Unit of the Salvation Army, discussed the unit’s operations during the Toronto Ohio Chamber of Commerce’s Thursday luncheon meeting at the North River Avenue Christian Church. -- Mark Miller
Starr, who shares director duties with Anna Lea Wirth, said the organization does have to operate under Salvation Army guidelines.
"Everything we do has to be documented with paperwork," Starr continued, adding "that way there's no (financial) hanky panky. November was a very busy month - one of the busiest we've ever had."
Starr said most November expenditures were for utility bills for clients within the Toronto ZIP code, including Toronto, Empire and Stratton and other adjacent areas, which added up to $2,425 spent during the month. She went on to say although the unit has seen its share of repeat clients in 2012, the unit saw a lot of new clients because of the poor local economy.
"There were a lot of new people coming for the first time," she said, adding the unit assisted 626 clients during the previous fiscal year. "Some people can't believe we are helping them. All we require are the fundamentals. We help everyone, whether they have a permanent address or not."
She said those wishing to contact the unit for assistance with utility bills "shouldn't wait until the last minute, because then there's a (utility) turn-on fee, and we won't pay that. We don't give checks or cash directly to (clients). We send funds directly to the agency."
The unit also operates a prescription assistance program run by Lu Ellyn Dallas, who can be contacted at (740) 537-2210. Starr said the program has been successful in obtaining dozens of prescriptions for clients at no charge.
Starr also mentioned this year's kettle drive, which currently is running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday and Saturday through Christmas week at both Toronto Kwik King locations and Riesbeck's grocery store. She lauded Don Redmond, kettle drive coordinator, and the community for their support.
"What you (and the community) give us every year has been tremendous," she said. "The churches in Toronto also support us very well."
The chamber-sponsored light up night on Nov. 20 raised $1,803 for the unit's home heating assistance program, said Starr.
She added another fundraiser for the organization - titled "All is Well" - will include performances by the Splendid Sound gospel quartet, Word of Life singers, Marla Inderbitzon, Lois Popejoy, Burl Jerningan, Jason Ray and child vocalist Sara Johnston. The concert is set for 7 p.m. Sunday at Riverview Methodist Church. Starr said last year the concert raised $950 for the unit. She added without volunteers the unit wouldn't be able to operate.
"It takes a lot of work from each volunteer (to run the unit)," said Starr. "We have a wonderful group of volunteers."
Redmond said a lot of people would be in dire straights without the unit's assistance.
"All these families that get help from the Salvation Army - what would they do?" asked Redmond. "No other organization can do what the Salvation Army can do."