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Salvation Army Angels' making Christmas wish lists come true

By Staff
ANGELS' AT WORK Dave Marshall works Wednesday to put groceries into boxes that will be distributed to needy families in the area. Marshall, a pastor at Northcrest Baptist Church, was one of about 50 volunteers helping with the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program. Photo by Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
Dec. 20, 2001
While musical sounds of "We Three Kings" echoed through a warehouse filled with toys, local volunteers worked Wednesday to get those toys into the hands of the parents waiting patiently outside.
Ashley Covington, one of the volunteers, paused as she checked one of the bags of toys. She leaned down and lifted the label on the bag with L 635 A written on it each bag was labeled with a number that linked it with a family.
The Salvation Army has coordinated the "Angel Tree" program for over a century. This year's drive will provide nearly 800 local needy families with food, clothes and toys for Christmas.
Families seeking assistance from the Salvation Army must fill out an application and meet minimum income requirements.
Local churches, civic groups and schools then adopt children from a pool of names and buy presents for their family based on the family's needs. When the families apply, parents compile a wish list for their children.
Capt. Joe Mur, co-commander of the local Salvation Army, said the outpouring of generosity from the community is indescribable.
Once the organizations make their purchases, the gifts are brought to the Salvation Army office. There, volunteers organize the gifts by number and put that number on the bag. Then they call the families receiving the gifts and give them a time to come pick up the gifts.
This year the pick up site was a building on U.S. 45 near Johnson Mobile Homes.
Family members, with identification in hand, formed in long lines outside the building as they prepared to retrieve their Christmas gifts and food.
Covington has volunteered for the past three years for the drive with her church youth group at Northcrest Baptist Church. She said she plans to do it every year she can.
For more information on the Angel Tree program, call the Salvation Army at 483-6156.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at fcarmichael@themeridianstar.com.

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