Benjamin A. Greenhaw served his tour of duty in Baghdad with the U.S. Army, then returned home to serve Americans in need with the Salvation Army.
“This is a good place to work,” said Greenhaw, a social services aide for the past two years at the Morro Bay Salvation Army site at 540 Quintana Road. “These are nice people — very appreciative for everything they get. This community is so generous.”
Linda Estes spent a career teaching kindergarten in Los Osos and Morro Bay before finding her niche in volunteer service. For five years, she’s coordinated the Salvation Army’s largest fund development effort, the Red Kettle Drive.
Estes is seeking her army of volunteers to ring the bell from Nov. 19 through Dec. 24 in Morro Bay and Los Osos. Cookie Crock, Spencer’s, Albertsons, Ralphs, Vons and the Morro Bay Post Office are locations where the donation kettles are staffed by area organizations, churches and individuals.
“We have people who have volunteered for years in their preferred time slot,” Estes said, “but I’m always looking for new volunteers to fill in. New this year are signs above the kettle featuring the name of volunteer groups.” Greenhaw marveled how people with the least to give are often those who dig deep and give more.
“People come up and thank you for ringing the bell,” he said. “They have stories how they were helped by the Salvation Army.”
The donation drive helps keep Salvation Army’s doors open for whoever needs them.
“People don’t always know what we do,” Estes said. “Recently a mother mentioned (that) her son asked to go to our rehab facility. Most don’t know we have a facility and we will help people get there with travel vouchers. We have a summer camp for children. We help with utility and water bills and offer travel vouchers for doctor’s appointments.”
Greenhaw noted food donations come in regularly, and people who need food pick up a monthly allotment.
“Tuesdays are Panera Bread day. And generous people will take advantage of buy-one, get-one deals and bring one to us. We have two refrigerators, but nonperishables are best, especially peanut butter and hot dogs.”
Added Estes, “For holiday meals, Cookie Crock donates a voucher for people to buy what they want, and we are taking sign-ups for Toys for Tots until Dec. 15.”
Food or toys or cash — everything the Morro Bay Salvation Army receives is given out locally. To donate, call Estes at 772-8757.