COAL TOWNSHIP - The Salvation Army's annual food drive seeking specialty food items is scheduled to conclude Monday, but it is "running behind" and there is an urgent need for more items.

Salvation Army officials will begin packing Christmas boxes Monday and will need to purchase any needed items to complete the boxes.

Brian Persing, a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and drive chairman, said specialty items needed include: 3-pound canned hams, turkeys, chickens, instant potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing mix and canned vegetables and other items to make Christmas dinner special.

Persons with questions or needing help to deliver items may contact Persing at 570-847-2479.

Residents may drop off items during business hours at the Salvation Army headquarters at 1300 W. Spruce St., Coal Township; James Pizza, 524 E. Pine St., Shamokin; Shamokin Police Department, 511 N. Franklin St., Shamokin; The News-Item, 707 N. Rock St., Shamokin, The Subway at Walmart, Coal Township, and Dr. Dwight Davis' dentist office, 219 N. Vine St., Mount Carmel.

Monetary donations are also being accepted. Persing said a family of four can be fed for $20 and a 10-member family can be fed for $50. Monetary donations may be mailed to the Salvation Army headquarters or to Brian Persing, 914 W. Wood St., Coal Township. Check should be made to "The Salvation Army."

Maj. Tina Streck, commanding officer, and Judy Orner, social services director, said a successful drive is important because of the increasing number of families seeking help during the holidays.

Anyone wishing to sponsor a family or any group or organization wishing to help ring the bell for the kettle drive may call the Salvation Army at 570-644-0486 during business hours.

Among those helping with the collection are Lisa Cesari, Subway; Tina McClay, Mount Carmel Mid Rise; Allison Wetzel, Coal Township High Rise; Linda Persing, Lincoln Towers Highrise; Mary Novach, of Dr. Davis' office; superintendent Paul Caputo and director Joseph Klebon, Southern Columbia School District; Bernie Stellar, superintendent of Mount Carmel Area School District, and Joan Kidron, of Shamokin Area School District.