Alan Madsen knows that he and his team always have a lot to do at the Salvation Army in Penticton. But once Christmas time approaches, the workload amplifies.
Today, he’s asking the community he loves to help in any way they can so that the ones in need can have an enjoyable holiday season.
Madsen, the Salvation Army’s community ministries director, told the Penticton Western News on Tuesday that they are in desperate need of more volunteers. And without more help, the many challenges that come with working at the non-for-profit centre are more difficult to overcome.
“Things slow down for us, it makes it harder on our few key people,” Madsen said. “We are a non-profit organization and we do have employees but we probably don’t have as many as we should for the volume of work that we do.
“Able-bodied, good people that are willing to work? We would love to see those people (volunteer). We depend on volunteers.”
The organization operates over the work of two different divisions — the thrift store and the food bank. But without the success of one, the other struggles to thrive.
Right now, Madsen says that finding volunteers to work in the thrift store is particularly challenging.
“I think with the food bank, there’s immediate gratification,” he said. “You can see that you’re helping people, and see the people that appreciate the food that they’re getting and the relief that we’re giving them.
“What they don’t understand is that working at the thrift store helps pay for that relief. Not as direct but in a very indirect way, it’s serving the same mission. We desperately need more (volunteers) in the thrift store.”
As of November of 2021, Penticton’s Salvation Army sees select volunteers working up to 40 hours per week. Madsen added that he wouldn’t know what to do without the volunteers who dedicate that much time to the organization every week.
“It would be nice to be able to disperse the workload to have some in the morning and some in the evening,” he explained. “We can’t do that right now. We would love it if we had enough people that are working so that we don’t burn out our volunteers.”
In the eyes of Madsen, Penticton isn’t just any ordinary place. It’s a city he believes is as generous and caring as a community can be. That’s why he’s confident that when he asks for help, Penticton will deliver.
“Penticton is a warm, giving, loving community and a very generous community,” he added. “We would love to see more in the way of volunteerism. I come from another city in another province and I can’t even compare…Penticton is so generous and I feel so blessed to be here.”
As Christmas time inches closer, Madsen says that the organization is feeling the stress with so few volunteers present.
“We’re trying to do so much for so many in such a condensed amount of time.”
But he also insists that he’s grateful for all the donations and help that they’ve has received during the pandemic and beyond.
With the addition of COVID-19, finding volunteers has been as difficult as ever, according to Madsen.
The Salvation Army in Penticton asks anyone that is interested in volunteering to call 250-492-6494.