Ripley County, IN – The Salvation Army is most visible during the Christmas season, when bell ringers appear at stores and bright red kettles remind shoppers that it is the season of giving. When the kettles and bells are put away for another year, the quiet work of helping others begins. For Sister Marge Wissman, helping others in her community has been a lifelong passion. As a Salvation Army Service Extension Representative in Ripley County, every day she has the opportunity to turn the change from the red kettles into change in people’s lives.

“It means a lot to me,” Sister Marge says. “When people come in and tell me they’re going to have their electric turned off, or their water, or their gas – I get very emotional. Especially in the weather we’ve been having this winter. It just can’t happen.”

Last fall, Sister Marge was meeting with a local family that was struggling to keep up on its utility bills. Bill and Tina had fallen on hard times in the past, so Sister Marge was familiar with their family’s situation. This time, though, it was obvious that the disconnect notice they brought to Sister Marge was not the primary reason for their distress. It didn’t take long for Sister Marge to discover the extent of their suffering.

Bill and Tina’s teenage son had been diagnosed with a rare disease that affected his prostate. He’d been in and out of the hospital for months, missing school and facing difficult treatments. Both Bill and Tina had had to take time off work, and the hospital bills had strained the family’s resources to the breaking point.

Sister Marge was able to dip into Salvation Army funds to help keep power on in the family’s home. She was also able to comfort Bill and Tina and let them know that they were not alone in their struggle. Bill and Tina were grateful for both the assistance and the opportunity to focus their full attention of their child in his time of need.

When you give a gift to The Salvation Army, whether it’s dropped in a red kettle, pledged online, or stamped and mailed, you are ensuring that we are ready when people like Bill and Tina walk through the door looking for a little hope. Thank you!


Learn more about The Salvation Army’s volunteer-based Service Extension network in Indiana by visiting our Service Extension page. Interested in becoming a volunteer? Just contact your local SE representative or SE Director Billie Kay at billie_kay@usc.salvationarmy.org!