12 Days of Christmas: The Salvation Army of Monroe

On the first day of our "12 Days of Christmas" segment highlighting non-profits in NELA, we're highlighting the Salvation Army and what they do year-round.
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 12:06 AM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - In our 12 Days of Christmas segment highlighting non-profits in Northeast Louisiana, we start with the Salvation Army of Monroe and its long record of service to this region.

“They saved my life, I have to give credit to Captain Casey, he’s special people,” says David Henderson. “I was in Georgia - North Georgia - and he came from here up there and picked me up and brought me back down here. I tell him often that he’s still my miracle cause I was praying for a miracle and my sister was praying for a miracle, I was on my way to death.”

Captain Jerry Casey of the Salvation Army in Monroe truly has a heart for people and most of this community knows it. Henderson says he wanted to give back to Captain Casey and the organization that helped him, so he’s been working with the Salvation Army for four years now.

He even deployed to Fort Myers, Florida with a team from the Salvation Army in Monroe when Hurricane Ian demolished the coastline in September.

“It’s completely a mess down there,” explains Henderson.

Anytime disasters strike, the Salvation Army is there.

“Folks don’t realize all the Salvation Army does they think we just ring bells during Christmas, but if they searched to find out they would see that it’s amazing,” says Henderson.

Throughout the year, at no charge, the Salvation Army provides numerous services including overnight shelter for 52 people, utility assistance, mobile feed, and above all offers a safe and clean environment.

“We have the Women’s and Children’s shelter which is full and we have our men’s shelter which is so full we’ve been putting cots out. We normally only put cots out during a disaster or a flood or a situation...we are accommodating everyone who comes to our door,” says Captain Jerry Casey.

During the holiday season, they have their Angel Tree Project.

“We provide Christmas to families that would not normally have Christmas this year we’ve taken on about 150-175 families and each family has a minimum, and I mean a minimum of four children,” explains Casey. “So we have some families that have six to eight children, we even have two families with 12 children. [...] If you multiply that we’re talking thousands and thousands of gifts.”

But this year, they’re facing major challenges. They’ve taken on 50 more families because the need is so great.

“We’ve never really found ourselves in this position this late in the year by this time in the year like I said we’re flowing and dividing it up but this year we’re not because we still have 150-155 angels that haven’t been adopted,” says Casey.

That’s why he’s asking the community to help in any way they can. Donating to their Red Kettle Campaign is one way. The fundraiser keeps the lights on year-round.

“We really count on the kettles, that’s where our finance comes from,” explains Casey. “We don’t charge people to come stay in our shelter, we don’t charge people for the food, we don’t charge people for anything.”

Over the last few years, Captain Casey says the need for their services has increased in this area.

“There’s a lot of people out there who have had a hard year, I mean really since the pandemic we’re still trying to lift ourselves out of it,” says Casey. “And we have people in our community who have never asked for assistance before and now are and we want to assist them we want to help them.”

And Captain Casey says it’s all possible thanks to the generosity of this community. From businesses to individuals, he says so many people have wanted to be a part of their work. He says Walmart has been a wonderful partner for their Angel Tree program over the years.

If you’d like to drop off donations in one of their Red Kettles, Christian Creed will be ringing the bell on Dec. 20th all day outside of his offices on Tower Drive.

Visit the Super Walmart on Louisville Avenue in Monroe to adopt a child from their Angel Tree near the pharmacy. You can drop items off at the Salvation Army at 105 Hart Street in Monroe or the Salvation Army Thrift Store at 145 Reagan St in West Monroe. Contact them at (318) 325-1755.

Stay tuned to Good Morning ArkLaMiss and the 5 p.m. news each weekday until Dec. 23rd for these stories. On the weekend, you’ll be able to see them at 10 p.m.