Local Salvation Army to kick off annual event Saturday
COAL TOWNSHIP - Kickoff for the annual Salvation Army Kettle Drive will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, Route 61.
Maj. Tina Streck, commanding officer of the local Salvation Army, with headquarters at 1400 W. Spruce St., said arrangements have been made with Councilman R. Craig Rhoades, Shamokin City Public Safety Director and fire official, to have a city fire engine at the kickoff, along with some firefighters to help man the kettle.
In addition, students from the Shamokin Area Elementary Annex will man the kettles during the kickoff. Streck invited members of the Salvation Army Advisory Board to attend the kickoff ceremonies.
Although Saturday is the official kickoff, kettles may be at several locations as early as today.
At the same time, the major issued a plea to area individuals, businesses, service clubs, church groups and anyone else interested in assisting to contact the Salvation Army at 644-0486 and offer their help in this year of great need.
Streck said volunteers can offer to man the kettle, take one or more "Angel" tags from the tree at the Wal-Mart, Route 61, adopt a family or purchase a ham, turkey or chicken for a Christmas basket.
Judy Orner, social services director for the Salvation Army, said, to date, this has been one of the busiest years for the Salvation Army because more families need help during the holidays. "There have been larger families with children and many first-timers," Orner said. "We've been trying to stockpile some Christmas food because of the large need," she added.
Orner said needy families have until Tuesday, Nov. 27, to apply, by appointment only, for Christmas assistance. People must call 644-0486 Tuesday through Friday during office hours to make an appointment. Almost 400 families applied during the first few days. Orner reported.
The Salvation Army is also helping families affected by natural disasters.
Streck said the Salvation Army has helped provide 1.5 million meals and drinks to residents in New York City and New Jersey in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and is leading efforts in 13 locations in New York City. The Salvation Army is also providing critical services in 12 counties in New Jersey.
During last week's meeting of the advisory board, Streck reported the thrift store on Independence Street, Shamokin, is continuing to be successful. Lois McCormick, board member, said she has received comments from residents concerning the cleanliness and bright displays.
Orner said food and toys for needy families will be packed Dec. 10 through Dec. 18. Good and toys will be distributed from 9:30 to 11;30 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19. Waiting list distribution will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20.
Members of the Salvation Army Advisory Board attending in addition to Streck, Orner and McCormick, were Janice Kotwica, Ned Sodrick, Paul Metrocavage, Chris Venna, Harry Deitz and Brian Persing.