BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The familiar sound of Salvation Army bells is a little fainter in the capitol region this year. In the aftermath of the flood, Salvation Army Captain Brett Meredith said finding volunteers has been difficult.
"Normally we have about 75 kettles out every day in the Baton Rouge area and this year, I'd say the average is about 57," Meredith said. "We're facing some difficult challenges. We still have some time to make it up, and we trust we've got a lot of great people to help us do that in the community."
So far, collections during the holiday season are down about $100,000.
The flood delivered a one-two punch to the Salvation Army. The floodwaters damaged their headquarters while also hurting their donor base. Meanwhile, even more people are in need. Meredith said the number of children hoping for gifts this year through the Angel Tree program is up by 25 percent. Cora Warner is one of those who had her wish fulfilled by the program. She received a pink and purple two-wheeler for her great-granddaughter.
"I've wanted her to have a new bicycle," Warner said. "I've been sitting on the banks praying for one. And I got one. God is good."
Volunteers have been working hard around the clock to sort the Christmas goods to get them to the families at the Salvation Army's temporary headquarters at Cortana Mall. That said, they are still short-staffed.
"We all know Christmas is important. We need to help Children have good memories, even if they've had a tough year," Meredith said.
Those interested in manning a kettle or distributing gifts can find more information on volunteering for the Salvation Army here