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Angels and kettles: Salvation Army programs in full swing

The Salvation Army’s two major seasonal programs, the Angel Tree and the Red Kettle Drive are underway.

“We are already in the (Vicksburg) mall; we have our Angel Tree set up and it’s being manned Sunday through Saturday,” said program chairman Trudy James-Brown. “We started Nov. 8.

Brown said representatives will help those seeking to adopt Angels Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. As of Thursday, Brown said there were 325 children and 100 seniors on the Angel Tree as of Thursday.

Begun in 1979, the Angel Tree Program provides clothing and toys for children who might not otherwise receive anything at Christmas time. The program also assists senior citizens during the holidays. The items will be distributed to recipients Dec. 12, Brown said.

“When the parents come in to register the children and fill out the application, we try to encourage them to get needs as opposed to wants, things like coats and shoes,” she said. “We’re hoping the community will help. Of course, the children want toys, so we try to ask them to assist with one or two toys, but we try to meet their needs.”

Senior citizens’ requests vary, from things like heaters, jogging suits and slippers.

“We have angels ready to be adopted at the mall,” Vicksburg Salvation Army commander Maj. Steve Welch said. “Angel Tree is a pretty big program for us. It’s a pretty good program where people can get personally involved; the gifts go to that specific child. The things on the angel tag are things they ask for.

“The parents pick up the gifts; the children don’t even have to know that it came from the Salvation Army, and that’s important, too,” Welch said. He said the senior citizens who are able will pick up their packages, adding volunteers will deliver packages to those unable to pick them up.

Brown said the annual Red Kettle Drive began Nov. 8.

“We will be at different locations we start ringing at 10 a.m. and we can go as late as 8,” she said, adding the kettle program ends Dec. 24. “That’s our biggest fundraiser, where we get funds to help the community.”

Presently, she said volunteers to ring the bells at any of the kettle locations “are running pretty slow.”

Welch said the money collected during the Red Kettle Drive “help us to be open year-round and help people, not just at Christmastime, but the whole year we rely heavily on that to keep the doors open.”

People or organizations that want to ring bells for the Red Kettle Drive can call Brown at 601-415-2994.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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