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812 families get helping hand

December 20, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - Carlet Milton lived at The Salvation Army for four months, so she knows firsthand how the agency can help people when they are down and out.

"Now, I've got my own home," Milton said Tuesday morning as she collected holiday food and Christmas presents through that same agency.

Milton and her family were among 812 families who received food, Christmas stockings, hats and gloves, as well as Christmas presents at the annual giveaway made possible by The Salvation Army and the Marine Corps League's Toys for Tots.

Though things are looking up, Milton said she still needs a helping hand getting through the rough spots.

The same applied to Misty Ward, who was selecting toys for her six children, who range in age from 3 to 10 years old.

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"With six kids, it's really nice to have things under the tree," Ward said.

Theresa Mick said her family is just her and her 6-year-old son. Nonetheless, the food and presents are appreciated during the holidays, she said.

All of the donated food, toys, clothing and other items were organized inside the former McCrory's store at Long Meadow Shopping Center.

Those who applied for the program were given appointments so that everyone would not show up at once.

Volunteers met each applicant at the door, and with them went through the shopping process that was geared toward the age and gender of the children.

Gary Dawson said it was his eighth year at the holiday giveaway.

"I usually volunteer in the office doing the mail," Dawson said.

Stacy Fockler was a first-time volunteer. Fockler said her company, First Data Merchant Services, gives its employees days off of work to volunteer.

"It's just such a nice way to give back to the community," Fockler said.

Maj. Robert Lyle, who is working his first Christmas in Hagerstown, said he isn't sure if 812 families is a record.

But it is a lot of people to serve at the holiday season, he said.

"This means a lot to me and my family," Milton said. "I've been blessed.

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