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Bells ring for needy

November 18, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Salvation Army officials have placed collection kettles in more than a dozen locations this year and say they hope the people of Washington County will continue a tradition of generosity toward the less fortunate.

"Our kettle goal this year is $80,000," said Harry Barger, development director of the agency at 534 W. Franklin St. Last year, the kettle drive took in $91,593, exceeding its goal of $80,000.

Shoppers will find two kettles each at J.C. Penney at Valley Mall, Wal-Mart at the Centre at Hagerstown and Prime Outlets south of Hagerstown.

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Other kettles will be staffed at the Save-A-Lot grocery store and Big Lots at South End Shopping Center; Hecht's, Sears and the center court entrance at Valley Mall; Sam's Club at 1700 Wesel Blvd.; and Kmart at Valley Plaza.

Michaels at Crosspoint also has a kettle.

According to Maj. Butch Mallard, some stores that participated in the past have adopted sweeping "no solicitation" bans barring all nonprofits from seeking funds on their premises, citing liability and security concerns.

Kettles are staffed by volunteers, seasonal workers and some underemployed workers and clients served by the agency.

The direct mail campaign, which is separate from the kettle drive, has a goal this year of approximately $100,000, Barger said. Last year, $93,000 came in with a goal of $80,000.

The funds raised through kettles and direct mail at Christmas mean that thousands of people not only will have happier holidays but will continue to be served throughout 2005, according to Mallard.

Last year, 849 families got food, clothing and toys at Christmas. Gifts also went to 2,200 nursing home patients. Toiletries and other necessary hygiene items were delivered to 2,400 prison inmates.

"The deadline to sign up to receive food, clothing and toys this Christmas is past," Barger said. Contributions of money, food, clothing and toys will be accepted until Dec. 15.

Food and toys will be distributed Wednesday, Dec. 22, at the old Routzahn's building in the Long Meadow Shopping Center, Barger said.

The Salvation Army serves approximately 100 meals each weekday and maintains 30 beds for people in need of housing, but the beds usually are filled.

Through a variety of programs, the Salvation Army helps approximately 40,000 people all year in Hagerstown, Smithsburg, Clear Spring, Hancock, Williamsport, Funkstown, Boonsboro, Sharpsburg and Leitersburg, Mallard said.

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