They Move to Amarillo to Find Work, Face Harsh Realities... Turn to Salvation Army

by: Kristen Guilfoos

Amarillo, Texas - They're coming here from every corner of the country, all in hopes of escaping the rough economy and starting over in Amarillo. But as NewsChannel 10's Kristen Guilfoos found out, many people are facing a harsh reality when they get here.

Record numbers of folks are coming here from California, New York, Florida and everywhere in between. The Salvation Army says the need in our area has jumped 46% this year alone.

We've been hearing it for months now... ANB President Richard Ware says, "The Amarillo economy is in better shape." Happy State Bank President J. Pat Hickman says, "It's really been a great year."

Mayor Debra McCartt even shared it with all of America on CNBC. She says, "It's important that we try to get out a message on what's going good in our city."

And people are listening.

The Salvation Army's Major Tim Grider says, "They are hearing from the other lands around us that there are jobs in Amarillo." And that's causing many folks to pack up their families and head to the High Plains... In hopes of escaping the rough economic situation back home.

Grider says, "A person comes to the city and they get a job and they tell aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, neighbor, whomever, someone from where they've come from that there are jobs and they have to come quick. There may only be one job but they're telling 15 people."

Many of those folks arrived and realized that while Amarillo is in better shape that most of the country, there still weren't jobs waiting for everyone.

So now they're here, far from home, many times without any income or place to live... And they're turning to the Salvation Army for help.

"They're coming to us for our angel tree. We have some children on our angel tree from some of those folks that have relocated. And for our shelter, staying with us here. That's been above and beyond what we're used to having, what we're used to helping, what we're used to receiving."

And now the Salvation Army is asking for your help. "Please help our angel tree. That kettle is out there in 26 locations. If you have blankets, bring them, if you have pillows, being them. We're going to need them."

There are already around 2200 kids signed up for the angel tree... That's ten percent more than last year and we're still a month out from Christmas.