Approaching holiday season will be different — but busy — for Wrenn, Army

Posted 10/28/20

Chatham County’s Salvation Army service unit is gearing up for a busy fall and winter season. This week, we speak with Jane Wrenn, the Army’s local director, who’s been in Chatham County for …

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Approaching holiday season will be different — but busy — for Wrenn, Army

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Chatham County’s Salvation Army service unit is gearing up for a busy fall and winter season. This week, we speak with Jane Wrenn, the Army’s local director, who’s been in Chatham County for more than 40 years and 11 years with The Salvation Army of Chatham. Most of Wrenn’s career has been working in nonprofits in Chatham. A graduate of Elon, she and her husband Robert, a Siler City native, live in Siler City.

Fall has arrived, and it’s typically an especially busy time for the Salvation Army. But we also know you’ve been dealing with needs for people in Chatham County impacted by the pandemic. What can you share with us about that?

We have seen an increase in services about 65% from this time last year. It is true that many people in our county continue to suffer and especially now with the COVID-19 pandemic. Safety is our utmost priority, so we have changed many familiar efforts to slow the spread of the virus for our employees, volunteers, and the clients we see, and our homeless population. We are not seeing folks face to face and only accept applications through the mail or by email.

Where are you seeing the biggest need right now, and how are you responding?

The biggest need we are seeing is help with rent, utilities and food. Right now, we are partnering with Central Piedmont Community Action and the Department of Social Services as well as the county to provide for help with rental assistance and utility needs. Food is also a major concern. We have also partnered with Freedom Family Church to form a food train to help our homeless population in need of a hot meal and Community 1 Solutions, who help to fill any gaps we might find in those needs.

What can you tell us about the Harris Teeter “round-up” program that’s in place now?

Our community partners have stepped up to help The Salvation Army of Chatham. Since many of our typical locations for our Red Kettle Campaign have limited kettle ringing outside of their stores, to protect customers, staff and the community, other avenues have come to light.

Harris Teeter at Chatham Downs is running a “round-up” campaign through Nov. 17 to support our service unit and United Way as well. More exciting happenings at Walmart is the North Chatham and Siler City stores for another round-up campaign that will take place from Nov. 2 through Dec. 31. Please make every effort to do all your holiday shopping at one or all of these stores in Chatham County.

Hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just a month away. What will the Army be doing to help families for Thanksgiving?

This holiday season is definitely seeing some challenges we hope to overcome. For Thanksgiving we are hoping to receive a complete meal box again this year through local churches provided by Mountaire Farms in Siler City. All the fixings are included in this box, even dessert. Last year, our Pathway of Hope families received these boxes and we are hoping they will be blessed again.

Christmas brings the Army’s Angel Tree program, as well as the Red Kettle program, which is a major fund-raiser for you. What do you have outlined for those during the upcoming holiday season, and will COVID-19 compel you to make any changes to “business as usual”?

Our Angel Tree program is going “contactless” this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Our application for this program is online at salvationarmycarolinas.org/greensboro/chatham. Many changes will be seen to protect our applicants, volunteers and staff and donors. Please feel free to make a donation to our Angel Tree program by mailing in a check and designate on the memo line Angel Tree to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 752, Pittsboro, NC 27312.

Our Red Kettle Campaign is still on go for Walmart in Siler City and Chatham Downs and the Governors Club Food Lion. In addition to their round-up program, Walmart has agreed to set up our kettles at their stores. They have even agreed to let us start ringing early this year on Nov. 21 to help support our kettle program in this challenging time. If you would like to make a donation to our Red Kettle Campaign, you may visit one of those locations listed or mail in a check and designate on the memo line “Red Kettle.” Our mailing address is The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 752, Pittsboro, NC 27312.

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