Organization Continues To Help Others Despite COVID-19

Dec 1, 2020

This first day of December is Giving Tuesday and one northern Illinois organization is asking for help -- so they can help others.

Major Mark Martsolf holding up the 10-ounce silver bar.
Credit Yvonne Boose

Major Mark Martsolf is the Winnebago County coordinator for the Salvation Army. He said the organization served way more families this year than last.  

“I've been a Salvation Army officer for 40 years. I've just not seen the need so pronounced,” he said. “First time recipients, people who have to rely on support services that never had to before, perhaps they're laid off from their jobs.”

Martsolf stated that this time last year the organization served about 4,600 families for their pop-up food markets. This year that number is over 26,000. Martsolf said the Northern Illinois Food Bank is one of the partners who’s helped with this but many other organizations are helping to keep things afloat. 

Martsolf also confirmed that the pandemic caused their thrift stores and adult rehabilitation centers to take a financial hit. He said if there was ever a time to give the time is now and he is thankful for all the donations they’ve received so far.

“We've been getting some exceptional gifts," he shared. "I had a gentleman come in, who just brought a paper bag. And in the paper bag is a little piece of paper and it was wrapped. And the note just said, 'May this help feed the hungry.'”

Martsolf said the person didn’t leave his name but the gift was a 10-ounce silver bar that’s worth about $250.

Martsolf is reminding people that although Giving Tuesday exists, donations are accepted all year. Contributions can be made at the Salvation Army of Rockford and Winnebago County’s website.