Major Diana Amick with the Salvation Army of Lee County is this week’s guest on Emphasis. She and Public Radio’s Jason Parrott discuss the organization’s 125th anniversary in Keokuk and the challenges it faces today.
Amick says the organization reached the United States in 1880. She says by 1887, the Salvation Army was established in 600 cities, including Keokuk.
“I heard Keokuk referred to as the Gateway to the West,” says Amick of her research in preparation for the 125th Anniversary. “I am sure that is why the Salvation Army came this direction.”
Amick says there is a display of the history of the local branch of the Salvation Army at the Keokuk Public Library. She says special events will be held this fall to spotlight the anniversary and to raise awareness for the Christmas Bell ringing campaign.
That is the primary source of revenue for the organization each year.
Amick says the facilities in Keokuk and Fort Madison feature thrift stores and food pantries. She says the organization can also help people with utility needs and prescription drugs as well as disaster relief.
Amick says the Salvation Army is serving more individuals and families. She says receipt of services is up 23% from Oct. 2011 – Mar. 2012 compared to the same time frame during the previous year.
Amick says the biggest needs for the organization are day-to-day necessities like laundry detergent, diapers and toiletries. She says, many times, people do not think to donate these types of items, which makes things difficult because they cannot be purchased through certain relief programs.
You can hear more with Mayor Diana Amick by clicking the Listen link with this article.