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Salvation Army kettles ready to cook

November 21, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

The Salvation Army hopes that a quarter here and a dollar there will add up to nearly $200,000 for needy people in the Tri-State area this Christmas.

"Everywhere you go you're going to hear the Salvation Army bell," Capt. Harold Tracey Jr. said in kicking off Hagerstown's kettle drive on Friday at Valley Mall.

If every person in Washington County dropped 53 cents into the red kettles, the Salvation Army in Hagerstown would meet its fund-drive goal of $54,950, said Tracey, financial secretary for the division headquarters in Baltimore.

"We believe that for change in there's change out," he said.

The money is used to buy toys and food baskets for more than 1,000 people in the Tri-State area.

The kettle tradition dates back to 1891, when Capt. Joseph McFee first put them out in Liverpool, England.

"A lot of people tell us it's a sign that Christmas is here," said Maj. Georgia Henderson of the Hagerstown Salvation Army.

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In the Eastern Panhandle, the Salvation Army hopes to raise $50,000 in its kettle drive, which began Nov. 13, said Maj. David Johnston of the Martinsburg, W.Va., corps.

Franklin County, Pa., kettle coordinator Robert Weagly didn't set a goal for his volunteer bell ringers who started Nov. 12. Last year, they collected $87,000, he said.

"We feel that the Lord will provide what is needed," he said.

The kettles can be found at most area shopping centers and at Wal-Mart, Kmarts and Ames stores. The Wal-Marts that have been expanded into Super Centers will be manned by two kettles this year.

Valley Mall will have kettles this year for the first time in several years since Crown American of Johnston, Pa., bought the mall from Prime Property Fund.

"The previous owners of the mall had kind of excluded the Salvation Army," said Valley Mall Manager Bill Lynn.

To compensate, Montgomery Ward and other department stores in the mall hosted the kettles, he said.

This year, there will be a kettle in the mall's center court and one in front of J.C. Penney.

"The bells are here to stay," he said.

Other locations in Washington County include Sears, Prime Outlets, Long Meadow Shopping Center, Pharmhouse, Sam's Club and Big Lots.

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