Salvation Army kicks off annual bell ringing campaign

Published 10:58 pm Saturday, November 12, 2016

Bells are ringing and the angels are on the tree. It’s Christmas time again in Vicksburg and this year’s Salvation Army red kettle campaign officially kicked off Saturday at the Vicksburg Mall.

The campaign is vital to the Salvation Army’s annual budget, said Trudy James, Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary member and kettle volunteer coordinator.

“It’s extremely important,” she said. “The largest amount of funds we receive come from our red kettle campaign. That’s the majority of the funding the Salvation Army receives all year.”

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Mayor George Flaggs Jr. spoke Saturday about the importance of serving and offered a full day of his services volunteering with the Salvation Army. He also pledged to give the organization a $500 donation quoting a lesson he learned as a child in church, “It’s better to give than to receive.”

“It’s about us serving and not being served,” Flaggs said. “This is what true Christmas is all about. We’re sharing our time and our giving to make certain that everybody can be included in this celebration. This is the season where we should celebrate and make certain everybody has these opportunities.”

He said Vicksburg wouldn’t be the community it is without organizations like the Salvation Army and its volunteers.

“We could not enjoy the prosperity we enjoy had it not been for you,” Flaggs said. “You give of your time, you give of your service and you give of your means.”

James said 12 angels had already been adopted Saturday morning out of the 557 angels the Salvation Army has this year of children from infants to 11 year olds and senior citizens. The adopters will buy Christmas presents for their angel.

Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary member and Angel Tree volunteer coordinator Louis Derrington said God had blessed her when it came to her children and grandchildren and now it was time to help bless others.

“If we don’t help the parents with their children, then they have no Christmas. I think that is our main goal; when God blesses us, you have to pass the blessing on to someone else,” Derrington said.

Local Salvation Army director Maj. Steve Welch welcomed the crowd gathered outside Dillard’s Saturday following a concert of Christms music by a Salvation Army brass ensemble.

The program featured Miss Warren County Colby Brumfield singing “The Christmas Song,” Kyra McCullum singing “Jingle Bell Rock,” and Miss Pride of the South’s Outstanding Teen Julieanna Jackson singing “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree.”

“It always touches my heart when I see young people being utilized and their talent being displayed in our community,” Flaggs said.

Jackson’s mother Tori shared how service organizations helped her family with food and presents when she was a child and how important it was to her parents to have that help for a happy holiday. Today she is very thankful for everything she received.

“We were blessed to have an organization come to us and offer that, and we were even more blessed by the community,” Tori Jackson said. “When you pass a tree and see these angels, I hope you realize you truly are making a difference. You are impacting not only the parents but you’re also impacting the children.”

The Angel Tree will be located outside of Dillard’s at Vicksburg Mall starting Nov. 25. To volunteer to sit at the tree or to adopt an angel, call 601-529-4465.

Angel gifts are due back by Dec. 9.

Red kettles are located at Wal-Mart, Kroger, Belk, Dillard’s, Hobby Lobby, Corner Market, Walgreens, Piggly Wiggly and Dressbarn. To volunteer as a ringer, call 601-415-2994.