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Opinion: Thanks to Red Kettle donors

Typing Letter to the Editor for the Opinion page.

On behalf of The Salvation Army Trenton Citadel Corps and Princeton United Methodist Church (PUMC), I am writing to thank the hundreds of people who contributed to the 13th annual Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign in Princeton this holiday season.

Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors and dozens of PUMC bellringing volunteers in Greater Princeton, The Salvation Army will continue to support a broad array of programs and services to help alleviate suffering to any and all in need without qualification or discrimination. Some of the services have included: assistance with housing and social services; a greatly expanded mobile food truck/hygiene service providing delivery of hot meals and hygiene kits to neighborhoods in response to the COVID-19 crisis; neighborhood picnics with police representatives to build community trust; and safe-space after-school activities and tutoring for students in STEM and reading enrichment.

A program for music and drama begins in January due in part to our community’s support.

Nationally and internationally, The Salvation Army’s services are available in virtually every zip code and in more than 130 countries. After the U.S. public school system, The Salvation Army is the largest provider of music education in the country. The organization also serves displaced men, women and children every day of the year through homeless shelters, transitional housing programs and permanent housing. Many other services meet other needs as appropriate for different communities. The changed lives are reflected in some prominent examples such as Julius Erving and LeBron James who played in Salvation Army gyms as children.

Most of all during these stressful times of COVID-19 and ongoing class and racial strife, it is wonderful to be surrounded in Princeton by such joyful givers. The bell-ringers of course extend thanks to each who donates, but that generally pales compared with the heart-felt thanks offered by the donors themselves who are so very grateful to be afforded the opportunity to support aid for those most in need. This is the case over and over, whether from a donor who may very well be a corporate executive or from the man this year at the bus stop whose clothes were disheveled at best and who fished out of his pocket what seemed to be the last nickel to his name and dropped it in the kettle. My personal thanks to a woman who offered me a slice of her takeout pizza on a particularly cold day.

The Salvation Army has been laser-focused on finding places in crisis, communities in great need, and setting up for the long-run. Locally it has been based in Trenton since the 1880’s and isn’t going anywhere. Thank you all again for contributing to this legacy and supporting the charitable mission.

Dana Dreibelbis
Parishioner, Princeton United Methodist Church
Advisory Board, The Salvation Army, Trenton

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