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Salvation Army kicks off Christmas campaigns

By Staff
LITTLE ANGELS Lacey Reeves, left, Rachel Owens and Cathrine Bordelon of St. Patrick Catholic Church look for angels Wednesday during the Salvation Army's Angel Tree and Bell-Ringing Campaign Kickoff at Bonita Lakes Mall. Photo by Sharon White/The Meridian Star
By Sharon White/The Meridian Star
The sounds of about a dozen elementary students singing Christmas carols helped Salvation Army workers and volunteers open this year's Angel Tree and Bell Ringing programs at Bonita Lakes Mall Wednesday.
The Salvation Army's Angel Tree campaign is an annual adoption program that allows community donors to purchase Christmas gifts for children from low-income families for Lauderdale County and several other nearby communities. It complements the Bell Ringing campaign a traditional effort to provide food and gifts at Christmas to poverty-level families.
The mall's tree is one of about a dozen Angel trees that can be found at local banks and stores throughout Meridian starting Friday. Trees are decorated with cards listing a child's first name only, his or her clothing and shoe sizes and "two wishes" for this Christmas season, said Joann Mur, co-commander of the local Salvation Army.
Donors are asked to adopt as many children as they can afford with donors agreeing to spend $50-$75 on each child. For the first time this year, donors will be given a stocking to fill for each child they adopt.
She said giving a gift unwrapped also allows a parent to do the wrapping, which makes them feel they took part in providing Christmas for their children.
Meanwhile, outside dozens of local stores volunteers and paid bell-ringers will be accepting donations from shoppers that will be used by the Salvation Army to purchase food and other needed items to make the holidays happier for needy families.
The Murs said volunteers are needed to man both the trees and kettles.
Over the last several weeks, the Salvation Army has interviewed and found that more than 500 families qualify for assistance after meeting federal guidelines standards for the poverty level. A make-up day will be held Dec. 5 at the Salvation Army business office at 117 Eighth Ave. Those seeking assistance will need to provide picture identification and all sources of income per household.
For information about volunteering, call the Salvation Army at 483-6156.
Sharon White is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at swhite@meridianstar.com.

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