A welcome contribution

Santa Claus and Christmas morning came early for the Salvation Army in Minot on Monday by way of some generosity of employees at United Piping Incorporated out of Duluth, Minn.

A check for $10,800 was presented to the Salvation Army at their headquarters in southwest Minot.

United Piping Incorporated is working in the Minot area on a project for Enbridge Pipelines. The company strives to have a positive presence in the communities where it works. Employees at United Piping Incorporated donated $5,400 and the company made a matching contribution of $5,400 for a total of $10,800 to Minot’s Salvation Army.

Michelle Bussard, social services director for the Salvation Army office in Minot, was grateful for the donation and said it would be too difficult to name all of the people and organizations who have helped with food donations to the Salvation Army. This contribution will help with the cost of food for families, she added, and will help in the shortfall from the recent cuts in funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program. The donation will help a family of four receive 60 pounds of food for a month, Bussard said.

“We served 253 households in November, and some were families of seven and eight,” she added.

So far this year, approximately 100,000 pounds of groceries have gone to families, Bussard said.

“One-third of the city has been helped through the Salvation Army food pantry,” she added. In addition to the food pantry, the Salvation Army also provides hot meals for people in need.

“We take into consideration the circumstances, not just the person’s income,” Bussard said. “We look at the whole picture.”

They look at whether the person had an increase in medical expenses or how long he or she was unemployed, she continued. A lot of times the person has to come to the food pantry even after receiving his or her first paycheck since the person would also have to pay the previous and current month’s rent on a new apartment and other expenses that come with starting a new job after being unemployed for a period of time.

“The employees really stepped up,” said Connie Cooley, operations manager for United Piping Incorporated, about the generous donation. “One of the foremen wrote a check for $500.”

“It turned into a competition among the crews,” added Cory Halberg, field project manager for United Piping Incorporated. One crew would find out that another group had donated a certain amount of money and then the other group would donate more, he continued.

“We’ll try to make this something we do every year,” said Cooley.

Dave Halberg, superintendent of United Piping Incorporated, said the Salvation Army was chosen as the recipient of the company’s donation when he was told the Salvation Army was in need and funding had been cut.

“We were just going to donate to a food pantry (in Minot), but then we heard about Salvation Army,” he added.

The Salvation Army is still in need of volunteers to ring bells for the red kettles, Bussard said. People interested in volunteering for a shift can call the office at 838-8925. The Salvation Army office is located at 315 Western Avenue in Minot.