Shore’s Salvation Army Kicks Off Awareness Campaign

SALISBURY — The Salvation Army has been serving the lower shore for the last 100 years, but many residents of the tri-county area don’t know the full scope of what it offers and associate the organization only with Christmas, red pails and ringing bells.
Sherry Maykrantz, the new director of development for the organization, is looking to change that perception with an awareness campaign this year.
“I think the most important thing for us is to bring awareness that we serve Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties,” she said. “Even if there’s not a physical presence, we’re still here and we serve 365 days a year.”
Somerset and Wicomico do both have Salvation Army facilities, but Worcester does not. Wicomico actually has two, including a Boys and Girls club, right in Salisbury. That doesn’t mean that Worcester is ever shorted on services, promised Maykrantz. But she recognized that if people never see a Salvation Army building it’s easy for them to forget that the agency exists.
“Just being a local in Ocean City and talking to people, they don’t even know that there’s a Salvation Army here in Salisbury unless they grew up here,” said Maykrantz.
A dedicated Worcester facility is on Maykrantz’ wish list but will be tied to what funding is available. In the meantime, she plans on working to get the word out about all of the services that Salvation Army offers on the lower shore. For those in need, the organization supplies food, furniture, support and sometimes even medicine.
“A lot of people have a fire and they lose everything. Well, call the Salvation Army,” said Maykrantz. “We’re there to assist you. We’ll get you back on your feet. We’ll do whatever it is that we can to help you.”
The agency supports nearly 8,000 lower shore residents every year. There’s also a big focus on youth and youth programs like sports and educational outreach. Everything is tied to the non-profit’s mission statement, which places an emphasis on community building through faith and responsibility.
“The motivation behind the organization is the love of God and humanity and concern for the needs of others,” said Maykrantz.
Since beginning as the director for development on Dec. 4, Maykrantz said that she has fully embraced that philosophy in her professional life and always has in her personal.
“I truly believe in the mission, that common goal that everyone shares, that feeling of wanting to help, that respect for humanity,” she said. “It is alive and well.”
A fitting example of that spirit was on display around Christmas when Denny-O, owner of Peppers Tavern, held the 1st Annual Stuff the Truck event in West Ocean City. It was a sweeping success, said Maykrantz, bringing in around $5,000 worth of food. Other items like toiletries were also collected and the large truck provided by Peppers was, in Maykrantz’ words, “stuffed.”
Now that Christmas is over and the bells and red buckets are being holstered until next year, Maykrantz hopes to see that charitable spirit carried over throughout 2014. Donations and volunteers are needed all year long. While the Salvation Army is an international organization, an average of 82 of every dollar donated stays local.
“If you were to give to your local territory, it stays within where your zip code is,” she said.
Her first month on the job has been “a humbling experience,” said Maykrantz. By raising awareness across the lower shore about what SA does and desires to do, Maykrantz is optimistic about 2014 being a big year for the 100-year-old institution.