The Salvation Army Central Virginia

The Salvation Army Central Virginia receives a $150,000 grant to support its Christmas Distribution

In the company of Santa and Mrs. Claus and dressed in holiday red, Ann Parker Gottwald helped usher in the holiday season at The Jefferson Hotel during its 31st annual tree-lighting festivities on Monday night.

Flanked by her husband, Thomas E. “Teddy” Gottwald, and four of her five sons and their wives, Gottwald is the 2017 Richmond Christmas Mother, which means she leads fundraising efforts for needy families throughout the holiday season.

The Richmond Christmas Mother Fund is a decades-old tradition sponsored by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which absorbs the administrative costs. From the fund, The Salvation Army Central Virginia receives a $150,000 grant to support its Christmas Distribution Center, though upward of an additional $100,000 is awarded to various holiday assistance programs, thanks to a partnership with The Community Foundation.

High spirits and holiday music moved throughout the expansive hotel, though further cause for celebration included an announcement from Gottwald earlier in the day that a special challenge grant has been created to encourage local businesses to contribute to the Richmond Christmas Mother Fund. An anonymous local foundation will match all area business contributions to the fund up to a total of $64,000.

“I’m very excited that this local foundation has come forward to encourage businesses to participate,” Gottwald said. “All donations from local businesses, large or small, will be matched until we reach $64,000.”

“This is a real boost for the fund,” she added, “and it means that more needy children in our community will have a brighter Christmas.”

Thomas A. Silvestri, president and publisher of The Times-Dispatch, called challenge grants “rare” and thanked Gottwald for her efforts.

“We are so thankful for this commitment,” said Silvestri, noting that the grant “is a special way of generating donations that also help dozens of nonprofit organizations doing good deeds throughout the region as part of the Richmond Christmas Mother campaign.”

Watching the festivities unfold from the packed staircase above the hotel’s ground level, 8-year-old Haley Moore peeked through the crowd in front of her for glimpses at the parade of characters — including members of Richmond Ballet and Richmond Flying Squirrels mascots Nutzy and Nutasha — that preceded the tree’s illumination.

She sang along to “Here Comes Santa Claus” as the big man himself and Mrs. Claus made their way down the stairs toward the switch that turned on the tree’s lights.

Her mother, Terry Moore, said this was their first time to The Jefferson for the holiday event. Her husband, Chuck Moore, was a member of the band Offering, which played during the festivities.

“She heard there was hot chocolate and cookies,” Moore joked about her daughter’s intentions.

Upstairs from the tree, executive pastry chef Sara Ayyash stood guard near the large confectionery creation of Santa in an airplane. Each year during the tree-lighting festivities, the hotel reveals its gingerbread creation, and this year’s is made from 200 pounds of baked gingerbread, 150 pounds of royal icing and at least 100 pounds of decorative candies.

She explained the story behind Santa’s flying vessel — “this year Santa’s reindeer are sick” — and then joked with a patron about having a sweet tooth this time every year.

“My dentist loves me,” she said.

Salvation Army Lynchburg Bell Ringers

Bell ringers needed in APX

The Salvation Army of Greater Lynchburg has kicked off the 2017 Red Kettle Campaign with a plea for volunteers.

The Red Kettle Campaign comprises on average 20 percent of The Salvation Army’s total budget. Last year, The Salvation Army provided more than 32,000 hot meals, 12,000 nights of lodging and financial assistance to more than 6,000 people. In addition, more than 18,000 gifts were given to children and the elderly through numerous community programs provided by the Lynchburg Salvation Army.

“We are asking as people make their plans for the holiday season, they also include time to volunteer as a bell ringer,” Captain Trey Jones said. “We are blessed to serve in one of the most generous communities in the country whose residents have a heart for helping others. Ringing a bell at a Red Kettle is a long-standing tradition in The Salvation Army, one we would love for the community to make part of their own this season.”

Due to closings and adjustments in individual store policies, The Salvation Army has lost several key bell ringing locations that brought in more than $20,000 last year. Having volunteer bell ringers instead of paid ringers ensures that funds raised in the Red Kettle can be applied directly to local program needs. Families and individuals of all ages are welcomed to ring with most choosing to ring in two-hour time slots, but time can be adjusted to accommodate groups and larger families.

If you would like more information regarding how you can volunteer or how to donate, please call 434-845-5939 or visit The Salvation Army of Greater Lynchburg serves Lynchburg, Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Campbell and Nelson counties and has been a part of the Greater Lynchburg community for more than 112 years.

Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command

Virginia Beach-based mattress company donates beds to Salvation Army shelters

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia Beach-based company Leesa replaced 72 mattresses for two Salvation Army homeless shelters.

It’s part of the company’s One-Ten program–for every 10 mattresses purchased, Leesa donates one to someone in need.

In this case, the business replaced all of the mattresses in the Salvation Army’s H.O.P.E. Village community, a community for single women and women with children, as well as their Hope Center, a homeless men’s emergency shelter on 19th Street in Norfolk.

So far, Leesa has donated over 22,000 mattresses to non-profits serving people who seek refuge from homelessness, human trafficking and domestic abuse.

“The unboxing event that took place today will make a major impact on the quality of services The Salvation Army is able to deliver to the people in the Hampton Roads community who seek shelter during the holiday season – and all year long,” a representative for the Salvation Army said.

Salvation Army Harrisonburg Bell Ringers needed

Salvation Army Harrisonburg Seeks Bell Ringers

The Salvation Army is seeking bell ringers for the rest of the month.

Capt. John Blevins, who leads the local corps, said the nonprofit hopes to raise $190,000 for the campaign, which typically accounts for about 20 percent of its annual $1 million budget.

 The organization is collecting donations at several stores in the area, including the Harrisonburg Kroger, Bridgewater Foods Supermarket and Food Lion stores in Elkton and Timberville. After Thanksgiving, kettles will spring up at the four Walmart stores in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

The campaign runs until Dec. 23.

 Those interested can sign up here.
Salvation Army Petersburg Homeless Shelter

Effort underway to save Petersburg Salvation Army shelter

PETERSBURG, Va. – A grassroots effort is underway to save the Petersburg Salvation Army.

The cost of operating the shelter doesn’t even come close to what the area Salvation Army takes in from donations, leadership said.

So after, 20 years of operation, the Salvation Army has decided December 31 will be the men’s shelters last day.

Closing the doors may benefit other services offered by the Salvation Army.

Capt. Donald Dohmann, Salvation Army area commander, said it costs $380,000 a year to keep the doors to the shelter open, and that the bottom line has been in red ink every year.

Right now, Dohmann said he is making plans to meet with area churches who may be willing to offer either financial support or serve as warming centers in the cold months.

“I’m more than willing to help and I’d definitely like to put something together with some local musicians,” said Matt Via, local musician.

Via is like many who watched the news and heard the shelter may go under.

“I said geez, there’s got to be something that can be done,” agreed Rocking Randall Davidson, a local musician.

So Davidson is trying to organize a local concert as a fundraiser at Life Church in Chester.

The news brought an immediate response to help, either to keep the doors open or help the men brave the winter.

“If it’s by keeping the shelter open through financial means or by giving of donations, we’re going to do that,” Pastor Mike Cherry, Life Church.

If the shelter is going to close, we’re going to do the best we can to help them through tents and coats and boots and everything we can to try to keep them warm,” Cherry said.

The Salvation Army also started getting phone calls.

“I’ve talked to probably a half dozen folks and civic groups and individuals who say, hey what can we do to help,” Dohmann said.

An estimated $75,000 would be needed to keep the doors open through the end of March.

“We says $25,000 each month, that’s kind of on the high end but what we have to remember is our utilities will be on the high end because it’s a bigger building, an older building,” Dohmann said.

While the city is still in financial distress, city leaders are hoping the community can help.

“We have over 140 churches here in the city and many civic organizations that would have loved to come in and help out in any way they seem fit,” Mayor Sam Parham, City of Petersburg.

“Everyone is a fan of the salvation army and I am happy they are starting to mobilize because we have to come up with a plan,” Parham said.

Salvation Army Winchester kicks of Red Kettle

Winchester Salvation Army kicks off Red Kettle Campaign

WINCHESTER — The Salvation Army of Winchester bell-ringers are back in action for the holiday season.

The local nonprofit organization kicked off its annual Red Kettle Campaign on Thursday afternoon at the Apple Blossom Mall. Armed with a bell and a bucket, volunteers will spend the next month soliciting donations at numerous locations around Winchester, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday (no Sundays)….more


Lynchburg Salvation Army looking to fill $20k hole

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET)– The Lynchburg Salvation Army is looking for ways to bring in 20 thousand dollars they’re afraid they’ll miss out on this year.

They say they lost about 6 kettle locations from last year.

Last year the Lynchburg Salvation Army raised 250 thousand dollars through the red kettle campaign.

This money goes to the shelter, food for the needy and Christmas gifts for less fortunate children.

“We’re tying to shoot for that again this year even though we’re losing several of the stores,” Lynchburg Salvation Army Captain Trey Jones said.

They lost about 6 locations. One from the Macy’s that closed in the mall, a few more from ABC stores because they didn’t work well, and a couple more from a high traffic retailer, which they are still negotiating with.

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Captain Jones said.

They are also worried about their K-Mart on Wards Road location because of it closing down.

“That could be a significant loss for this year but it’s definitely going to be one for next year.” Jones said.

Jones hopes the Lynchburg community can make up the difference they will feel this year.

He said, “Never experienced such a giving community, and I think everything will work out in the end.”

The Salvation Army is trying to cut back on costs to compensate for the loss.

One way is finding more volunteers to ring the bell instead of hiring people.

Greater Lynchburg Salvation Army in critical need off volunteer bell ringers

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) — The Salvation Army of Greater Lynchburg has kicked off its 2017 Red Kettle Campaign and is still in need of bell ringers.

According to The Salvation Army, the Red Kettle Campaign comprises on average 20 percent of their total budget.

“We are asking as people make their plans for the holiday season, they also include time to volunteer as a bell ringer,” stated Captain Trey Jones.

They say they have lost several bell ringing locations due to the closings and adjustments in individual store policies.

The Salvation Army says having volunteer bell ringers instead of paid ringers ensures that funds raised in the Red Kettle can be applied directly to local program needs.

Families and individuals of all ages are welcomed to ring with most choosing two-hour time slots, but they say time can be adjusted to accommodate groups or larger families.

The areas included in the Greater Lynchburg area include Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Campbell and Nelson counties.

If you would like more information regarding how you can volunteer or how to donate, please call (434)-845-5939 or visit