Salvation Army makes season bright for families

December 23, 1998

Salvation ArmyBy MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

Without the generosity of the Salvation Army in Hagerstown, Charles McCloud's Christmas dinner this year would have been just a sandwich.

And without the generosity of the people of Washington County, the Salvation Army wouldn't have been able to similarly brighten the holidays of more than 800 families with food and toys Tuesday.

Early in the morning, the people started showing up at the West Franklin Street agency to get their food baskets and toys ... McCloud among them.


"This means a lot to an older person on a fixed income," the 64-year-old McCloud said. "Now I can have a Christmas dinner."

Equally thrilled was Courtney Washington who is 28 and a fulltime student trying to make a new life for herself and her 7-year-old son. But this holiday season - without a job - she needed help making Christmas merry.

"This is an opportunity for me to get some things for my son for Christmas," Washington said, as she juggled her bag of food in one arm and toys in the other.

The food bags provide all the necessary ingredients for a Christmas dinner including stuffing, canned vegetables and fruits.

The Salvation Army adds milk, bread, pastries and a turkey, sized to suit the size of the family, according to Larry Miller, a volunteer and a member of the Salvation Army men's club.

"Each year the demand is greater but fortunately, so is the response from the community," Miller said. Service clubs, stores and many individuals make the difference.

This year, toys were provided for 1,500 children, Miller said. Food was gathered for 800-plus families.

"Some of the families were also adopted in our Christmas angel program where toys are matched up to the child," Miller said.

Another big plus for the past three years has been a cash donation from the AC&T Oil Company. This year it was $1,242.

"We donate one cent per gallon of gasoline sold over the Thanksgiving weekend to the Salvation Army," said Mark Fulton, an AC&T spokesman.

Paul Hartman, business manager for Salvation Army, said AC&T's contributions each year have become a wonderful tradition.

Major Georgia Henderson said the Salvation Army's Christmas cheer wasn't just limited to people in the community.

"We also visited nursing homes and took little gifts to about 1,300 residents," she said, crediting the many volunteers who give their time and energy to improving life for others.

One of those volunteers Tuesday was Eddie Stouffer who despite his youth, was right on target with his interpretation of the true meaning of Christmas spirit.

"I heard they needed help so I came down," the 14-year-old said as he handed out food and toys.

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