WARREN - Raising enough funds to transport residents to and from the drop-in center at the Salvation Army of Trumbull County is one of the major goals set for the year, Gris Hulbert, past board chairman, told those at this week's fourth annual benefit dinner.
Many groups, businesses and sponsors have helped the Salvation Army.
Fred Ebinger, advisory board member, said it costs $2,500 per month for gas to transport nearly 50 people to and from the drop-off center Monday to Friday.
Two vans pick up the local residents, with one van having more than 100,000 miles on it, Ebinger said.
''I do believe it is possible for us to raise the money and cover that gas bill. The need is real and we need your help ... The red kettle campaign has not always brought in what we need,'' he said.
The event includes a silent auction, basket raffle and Elvis performance by Danny G. Proceeds from the event will help the drop-in center.
''The red kettle bell ringers help bring in 80 percent of the budget. This is really important to the Salvation Army,'' Hurlbert said.
He commended the Eastwood Mall for allowing the volunteers and auxiliary to wrap gifts during the Christmas season, Diane Sauer Chevrolet for providing transportation and the Tribune Chronicle for publicizing programs and events.
Major Gregory Hartshorn of the northeastern Ohio division of Salvation Army and ordained in 1987, the keynote speaker, said ''With the theme, 'All Shook Up' there are a lot of things that can shake us up.''
Hartshorn said from its earliest beginnings in England, the Salvation Army had a social mission to help the homeless and those who are hungry get to food pantries, nursing homes, daycare, and after-school programs.
''From Sept. 11 to the recent flooding, the Salvation Army has always been there. We just don't know when our lives can be all shook up but yet we can find comfort because the Salvation Army is there. The Salvation Army will rise up to meet the need,'' he said.
Hartshorn said a caring community has made much possible.
Bryan Bender, drop-in center director, said clients often have mental health issues or physical handicaps.
He said the center helps with life skills, socialization, and peer support.
Several clients shared their stories of how the drop-in center has helped them and provided rewarding activities.
Sheila Drummond, who attends college, said she has seen herself grow and credits help from the drop-in center.
''The center is a great asset to the community,'' she said.
Hurlbert also paid tribute to the late Bill Horton for his community service and 20 years as a board member. Horton died in 2013.
''He gave so much of his time and energy,'' he said.