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'Thank you for people like this'

December 23, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Missy Canon of Hagerstown - unable to work because of a back and leg injury - said she tries to support her four daughters and grandson on $580 month.

If not for the help of The Salvation Army, Canon said it would be hard for her family to celebrate Christmas.

The Salvation Army gave out food, toys, wrapping paper and other items to about 650 families Wednesday.

The annual event was held in a building that formerly housed Routzahn's in the Longmeadow Shopping Center.

"If it wasn't for this, I don't think our family would have Christmas," Canon said.

Maj. Carolyn Mallard of The Salvation Army in Hagerstown said about 70 people volunteered to help with the event.

"All I can say is thank you for people like this," Canon said.

The families who qualified to receive the donated items pushed shopping carts around the large building, making stops at several stations to pick up items such as bread, milk, potatoes, stuffing, hats, gloves, stuffed animals and other toys that had been stacked neatly on tables.

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The Salvation Army also handed out gift bags containing items donated by Hallmark. Those items included wrapping paper, table cloths, photo albums and thank you cards.

"It's a nice little perk-me-up gift for the mothers," Mallard said.

Mallard said The Salvation Army purchased many of the toys that were handed out, as well as some of the food. She said a lot of the toys were donated.

CAMEO House, a mother-child addiction treatment center on Pennsylvania Avenue, has been taking residents of the home to the event for three years.

Linda Williams, a child-care worker at CAMEO House, said The Salvation Army has helped make Christmas brighter for the home's residents.

"They've been very generous to our women and children," Williams said.

Salvation Army volunteer Garry Dawson passed out $10 gift certificates for Martin's and invitations to attend church services to families who qualified for the organization's assistance.

"So maybe we can get some people to go to the Lord that way," said Dawson, who lives in Hagerstown.

Dawson, whose wife Judy also volunteers, said he's been helping The Salvation Army for six or seven years.

"The job doesn't pay anything, but you can't beat the retirement," he said.

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