Salvation Army eyes today’s auction to aid ongoing services

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Salvation Army’s Harvest Auction has a new radio home this year.

The auction, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, can be heard this year on WECZ AM 1540, said Capt. Keith Jache, co-commander of the Punxsy Salvation Army.

Jache said the community has been very generous to the corps this year, as there is more than $10,000 in merchandise that has been donated to this year’s auction.

“The corps has been hit hard again this year with the loss of more federal funding,” Jache said, and thus, the Salvation Army must raise even more money to make up for the loss of those funds.

Jache said even though the money isn’t coming in, the people still are.
Despite the economy, the Salvation Army’s auction has received several wonderful donations from the Amish community of handcrafted furniture, he said.

“Because of the larger donations, we’ve been able to go from only having $7,000 in merchandise to over $10,000,” Jache said. “We rely on the auction to help meet the needs of the community,” he said.

The auction and the Christmas Kettle Drive are the corps’ two biggest fund-raisers, Jache said.

“When you think about donating, and you hear the price on the radio or read it off the list in The Spirit, bid on the suggested price and donate an extra $25 to the Salvation Army,” Jache said. “By bidding more, you’re helping us out and you’re still receiving a wonderful product in return.”

Jache said there’s a number of services the corps provides that the public may not be aware of. Currently, it holds an after-school program, which averages about 35 youngsters, he said. The program provides assistance with homework and dinner, and then the kids participate in an activity or craft.

Boys have been working on a physical fitness badge, and girls have participated in homemaking, Jache said.

Next week, Project “Bundle Up,” which provides children and seniors new jackets to wear for the upcoming cold winter months, begins.

“We fill our gym up with blankets and jackets, and those who qualify can come in and choose what they need,” Jache said. There are many people who try to save money on their heating bills and obtain extra blankets to help them to stay warm during the cold winter months.

Because of the economy, there are many homeowners struggling for the the first time.

“People who would normally be supporting us are now coming to us for help,” Jache said. “It’s a humbling experience for them, because they’ve never had to ask for help.

“Coming into my building no one should ever feel like they are less of a person,” he said. “We’re here to help you solve some problems. Money is the thing that hurts a family the most. If we can eliminate some of that fighting over how they are going to pay their bill and feed the kids, that’s what we want to do.”

The Harvest Auction begins at 10 a.m. today on WECZ AM 1540, the numbers to call to bid are 938-5530 or 246-9880.