OSWEGO — Starting with Wednesday’s Thanksgiving dinner, the Oswego County Salvation Army Corps has a full plate of activities between now and Christmas.
Major Heather Odom said The Salvation Army is looking to assist as many people as possible, especially in light of economic stress experienced over the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Donations of food and money to assist with the Thanksgiving meal are being accepted through Nov. 22 at The Salvation Army’s Oswego location at 73 W. Second Street.
“Any turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pies. We really need pies,” Odom said.
Those items may be dropped off at the Oswego Salvation Army weekdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., or if somebody wants to arrange a different time, they can call Major Odom at 315-343-6491 to arrange a time.
The Thanksgiving meal at the Oswego location is set for Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., or until the food is gone, she said. People can dine in or get meals to go. Those dining in are required to wear a mask until they sit down for the meal.
She said The Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving meal is on Wednesday because other groups and restaurants are holding a dinner on Thursday.
Odom said they typically serve between 75 and 110 meals.
“We try to aim for about 100 people. We try to make extra,” she said.
Meanwhile, the annual Kettle Campaign has begun.
“The kettle drive is up and running. We call it a soft start. We only start at a few grocery stores in the beginning. As the weeks go on we add Big Lots, Walmart, and others,” she said.
As the drive continues, kettles will be manned Mondays through Saturdays at places throughout the county including Tops, Price Chopper, Walmart, JCPenney, and Big Lots, Odom said.
“We are in need of volunteers for the kettles. It can be individuals or groups. They can call Lt. Alyxandra Allen for kettles at 315-326-6999,” Odom said. “I call that number our ‘Kettle Hotline.’”
She said hours sometimes vary for the kettles to be manned. It depends on when volunteers are available for shifts.
“We usually try to stand between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.,” Odom said.
For those who might not get to a kettle location, there are other ways to make a donation.
“We have a QR code out there that we put on our Facebook page,” she said. “They can go to The Salvation Army website to give online. It goes by zip code so we would get the money here in Oswego County. Or they can mail checks in to us at Oswego County Salvation Army, P.O. Box 146, Oswego, NY 13126.”
Odom said the recent Salvation Army Guest Chef dinners have been successful. The first three sold out, and there is one more scheduled at The Salvation Army in Oswego. It will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. Dec. 7, provided by The Press Box.
“We want to thank everybody for their support. It’s been amazing,” Odom said. “We didn’t do them for a year because of COVID. We started back up not knowing what to expect and we’ve been so blessed. They’ve been selling out. The people that have been coming have been great. The restaurants have been amazing.”
Daily numbers of those eating at the soup kitchens in Oswego and Fulton have been steady, she said.
“Right now our soup kitchen is seeing between 25 and 50 people a day in Oswego, and we have the Fulton one as well. We are feeding between the two places about 50 to 100 people a day,” Odom said.
Along with food, there is a need for winter coats, hats, and gloves.
“Since September and October, we’ve been passing out winter coats. That’s been great. We’ve been able to help with that,” Odom said.
Those wishing to donate warm winter clothes can bring them to The Salvation Army in Oswego.
Odom expressed thanks for the continued help from the community.
“We’re very grateful that this community supports us so much,” she said.