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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Dodge City Salvation Army appeals to community for help

  •    Salvation Army Capt. Joaquin Rangel opened a refrigerator door, revealing a top shelf laden with bread and other food. The middle shelf was only half full, and the rest of the refrigerator was empty.


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  •    Salvation Army Capt. Joaquin Rangel opened a refrigerator door, revealing a top shelf laden with bread and other food. The middle shelf was only half full, and the rest of the refrigerator was empty.
        Joaquin Rangel showed a visitor a freezer, which was less than half full of frozen loaves of bread, a case of yogurt and meat. The pantry’s shelves contained several boxes of macaroni and cheese, boxes of saltine crackers and canned goods.
        The local Salvation Army typically receives most of its food from food drives early each year, then bolsters its supply with the help of monetary donations. But the supply dwindles throughout the year as the charity provides food for its clients.
        “We have to purchase the food,” Rangel’s wife, Capt. Gaby Rangel, said during an interview Friday. “But even though we purchase the most economical brands with some sales, it comes to be a lot of money for a not-for-profit.”
        Money is tighter than usual for the Salvation Army, due to the recession. At the same time, the charity is receiving more requests for assistance.    So far this year, the local Salvation Army has served 3,569 needy people, a 10.5 percent increase from last year. The charity has filled 1,136 grocery orders this year, up from 998 in 2009.
        The charity also saw its requests for utility assistance increase, from 82 last year to 98 this year.
        Joaquin Rangel said the charity screens its clients to make sure they qualify for assistance.
        The Salvation Army gets most of its funding from donations, thrift store sales and the annual bell-ringing campaign. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also provides some support.
        But local sources of funding are drying up this year, as donations  of food, clothing and money are down.
        The thrift store generated $30,000 less this year than it did in 2009, which forced the Salvation Army to close the thrift store on Tuesdays to save money.
        On top of that, the company that bought unsold clothing from the thrift store has closed, depriving the charity of another source of income.
        “It’s an accumulation of different things that have made it a very tough year for us,” Gaby Rangel said.
        The Rangels are hoping to generate an additional $25,000 from the bell-ringing campaign, but they have not even reached the halfway point yet.
        Joaquin Rangel said the Salvation Army needs help to reach its goal.
        “We are in need of the support of the community by being a volunteer — a bell ringer — themselves or helping us as they see us ringing the bells,” he said.
        He said he was optimistic that the charity would meet its goal by the Dec. 24 deadline.
        “When you think that our population here in town is unofficially 30,000 people, if you figure every person contributes $1, we’d be over our goal,” he said. “So yes, I have faith that we will reach it.”
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