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Salvation Army opens the season with kettle kickoff at Valley Mall

November 20, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

HALFWAY - The bells are ringing and not just for "me and my gal."

The Salvation Army launched its holiday kettle drive Monday at Valley Mall with inspirational words and music, and a $1,000 check presented by William M. Breichner, representing the Kiwanis Club of Hagerstown.

"Now we only need $109,000 to reach our kettle goal," said Ward Childerston, a member of the agency's advisory board.

In addition, the annual direct-mail drive goal this year is to bring in another $150,000, up $13,000 from last year's goal, said Harry Barger, director of development for The Salvation Army in Hagerstown.

"All the pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars are so important in our work for the community," Barger said.

There will be two kettles each at Prime Outlets and Wal-Mart. Kettles also will be at Sam's Club, Ollie's, Big Lots, Michael's and Kmart.

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At Valley Mall, kettles will be at Macy's, Garfield's, J.C. Penney Co., Inc. and Sears.

Other sites include the U.S. Post Office on Franklin Street in Hagerstown and the Pennsylvania Dutch Market on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The 15 kettle sites are in operation from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Salvation Army will help 885 families with food this holiday season. That number includes 1,600 children, who also will be receiving toys.

Toys and food will be handed out to the registered families on Dec. 20 beginning at 9 a.m. at Long Meadow Shopping Center.

"This is where the churches and civic organizations work together so well," said Chris Henry, chairwoman of this year's drive, referring to the annual fund drive.

Maj. Robert Lyle urged shoppers to remember "the reason for the season" as they put money in the kettles during their Christmas shopping trips.

Nearby shoppers already were responding to the ringing of the bells Monday by volunteers from the Maugansville Historical Society.

"We have 48 paid ringers this year and many, many volunteers," Barger said.

In addition to the holiday drive each year, The Salvation Army serves approximately 100 meals each weekday at 534 W. Franklin St., and maintains 30 beds for people in need of housing, but those beds usually are filled.

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