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Salvation Army hopes for better kettle drive

November 15, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

When last year's Salvation Army kettle drive fell $7,000 short of the goal and some programs had to be scaled back, Maj. Butch Mallard said it was a difficult time because the needs in the Hagerstown community were so great.

"Fortunately we didn't have to cut our weekday lunch program nor did we lay off any staff," Mallard said as he launched the 2003 drive Friday morning at Valley Mall.

This year, the kettle goal is $80,000. Last year, the goal was $85,000 and the final tally came to just $78,000. The direct mail target for this year is $135,000.

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Mallard said last year's campaign was hurt by back-to-back winter storms and the loss of two kettle locations.

"There are 14 kettles out this year," Mallard said.

Locations include Big Lots, Prime Outlets, Wal-Mart in the Centre at Hagerstown, Sam's Club, Kmart and Lowe's in Valley Plaza, a host of Valley Mall sites including at the main entrance, the food court, J.C. Penneys, Sears and Hecht's and at Target and Michael's.

The drive began on Nov. 10.

Keynote speaker Maj. Charles Powell, Maryland-West Virginia divisional secretary, said the annual kettle drive symbolizes the Salvation Army's mission since it began in 1865.

"We feed the hungry, clothe those with no clothes and house the homeless," Powell said.

Mallard said 850 families are targeted for help this holiday season.

"Our goal of $80,000 won't entirely meet that need but is a good start," Mallard said.

Local applicants are screened and notified by letter whether they are eligible for food, toys or both. Mallard said the last day to sign up for the holiday drive is Monday.

Those who qualify can pick up their food and toys Dec. 19 at the old Routzahn's store in the north end of Long Meadow Shopping Center, Mallard said.

Money raised during the holidays are also used to support those programs through the year. While the Salvation Army no longer receives money from the United Way campaign, it got $35,000 from the Washington County Gaming Commission this year.

In addition to providing food baskets and toys at Christmas, the Salvation Army serves approximately 100 meals each weekday.

"We also have 32 beds for people in need of housing and they are usually filled," Mallard said.

Last year, several service groups came up with a competition to see which group could raise the most funds for Salvation Army during the kettle drive. A challenge was announced Friday by Shelby Penn-Ross, president of the Downtown Kiwanis Club, last year's winners with a $6,000 effort.

Her challenge was quickly accepted by the Ali Ghan Shrine, represented by Ray Hahne, a life member of the Salvation Army. Penn-Ross presented a $1,500 check to Mallard on Friday to show that the competition is under way.

"This check is great, but it also takes nickels and dimes," Mallard said.

For more information on any of the Salvation Army programs, call 301-733-2440.

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