SALVATION ARMY IN NEED: Donations, volunteers welcomed

COLUMBIA CITY — Pat Mossburg, with the Salvation Army of Whitley County, picks up the phone in her office several times a day, taking calls from people dealing with life-changing situations. Whether assisting families with rent or simply offering a comforting ear to listen, Mossburg has a caring heart for the community.“It’s unbelievable how many people are hurting, and how many I have to turn down because you get ‘X’ amount of dollars that come in and there is only so much you can do with it,” said Mossburg. “Money is tight.”Since the Salvation Army of Whitley County’s funding was cut, the organization has until July 1 to meet the need of a program called “My Sole Purpose.” This program assists children in need, supplying them with new shoes as the school year begins. It also accepts donations for backpacks.“Everyone can do a little something, even if it’s just a dollar or a even a quarter,” said Mossburg. “I would probably cry and embrace someone who walked in the door and gave me a dollar because I know where it goes.”The goal for “My Sole Purpose” is $8,500. In just a week, the community has donated over $700.“Just to meet that need for the shoes, we just need another $3,300,” said Mossburg. “We have a good start.”Fifteen dollars is all is takes to adopt a child in the “My Sole Purpose” program. Children in need can come to the Salvation Army office and pick up a voucher for these shoes.Businesses can partner with the Salvation Army and display the shoe cut-outs in their store windows. Mossburg said individuals are also encouraged to support the backpack program by giving an extra $5.“Maybe we don’t reach our goal, and we only help 50 kids, but that will make a difference in their lives,” said Mossburg. Mossburg recently came up with an idea, called “Pitch In,” to further the fundraising efforts.“I’ve been asking well known people in the community to stand out in front of like Shoe Show with a boot, and have their family and friends and people in the community come, and whichever person raises the most money, we’ll give them some notoriety,” said Mossburg. Currently, she has two hours booked, but Mossburg welcomes more help.“Pitch In” will be held June 23 from 9 to 3 a.m. Over the past few years, she has also noticed a growing need for volunteers to ring bells at Christmas time.“Ringing bells is where we make about 90 percent of our money in the year,” said Mossburg. “Every hour someone can volunteer is so important to whether we will still be here in the future.”The Salvation Army of Whitley County is located at the First Church of God at P.O. Box 881, Columbia City, Ind. 46725. For more information on how to donate or volunteer, call 248-1711.More information on how local businesses can help include the following instructions from Mossburg:Sponsor A Child Encourage your employees to sponsor a child. Just $15 outfits a child in need with new shoes. $20 provides a backpack too.“I Flip-Flopped for “My Sole Purpose!” Encourage your employees to make a donation and, in exchange, they get to wear flip-flops or sandals on a particular day.“Blues for Shoes!” Encourage your employees to make a donation and, in exchange, they get to wear blue jeans on a designated day. This fundraising idea is great for Fridays or the last day of the month.“Pennies for Piggies!” Encourage your employees to drop their spare change in a designated container at their workplace. This fundraising idea is great for week-long or even month-long donation drives. Challenge departments or management teams to see who can raise the most funds in the set period of time.“Pennies from Heaven” Encourage youth groups to donate change for children. Perhaps inspire them to fill a shoe from home with change to bring in.