The Salvation Army and its partners share the spirit of giving
Jackson, Mississippi: In a year of COVID-19, The Salvation Army in Jackson found a way to continue a longtime Christmas tradition, “Flight to the North Pole.” A treat for children every year, a Mississippi Air National Guard C-17 cargo plane of the 172nd Airlift Wing “flies” youngsters to Santa’s Workshop – actually, a hangar with holiday decorations, treats, helpful elves dressed in red and green and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Because of the coronavirus, this year’s flight included social distancing, face masks and only one child at a time in the hangar to meet the Clauses, receive gifts and have a snowball fight with Jack Frost.
Jacksonville, Florida: The Bombshell Belles of Florida, women with a love of midcentury-inspired fashion and a dedication to volunteering for charities, worked a Red Kettle shift Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Town Center Hobby Lobby for The Salvation Army Northeast Florida Area Command. “We are so grateful for all the generous people that came out and gave so far this season,” the Bombshell Belles posted to Facebook. “This year has been difficult for many, and so it is more important than ever to finish this campaign strong!”
Marietta, Georgia: Volunteers at The Salvation Army Marietta Corps receive donations Friday, Dec. 4, for the 38th annual Can-A-Thon of the Metropolitan Atlanta Area Command. Nearly 80,000 canned goods and non-perishable food items were donated at eight Can-A-Thon locations in and around the city. Held every year before Christmas in partnership with 11Alive/WXIA-TV and Publix supermarkets, Can-A-Thon has the mission of restocking Salvation Army food pantries to serve the region’s estimated 800,000 food-insecure residents. Additionally, an 11Alive telethon, Red Kettle giving, and online donations on Dec. 4 raised another $50,032 to fight hunger. Because the need is greater this year, The Salvation Army and 11Alive will continue accepting financial donations for Can-A-Thon through Dec 31 at: https://bit.ly/2JPICij
Johnson City, Tennessee: The Salvation Army is grateful to generous donors and citizens of the Appalachian Highlands Region and its partners at WJHL-TV, the Firehouse Restaurant (the physical space) and Unbound Digital Computer Repair (phone lines) for a successful “Kettle-a-thon.” “Because of so many amazing supporters and their generosity, we kicked off the Red Kettle Campaign by raising $56,777,” the Johnson City Corps shared on its Facebook page. (Photo by Ashley Sharp/WJHL).
Hot Springs, Arkansas: The Salvation Army on Dec. 7 gave a huge “thank you” to the Soul Stars Motorcycle Club for their toy donation to the Angel Tree program. “It was a great weekend with beautiful weather for a ride and then a pit stop to drop off a load of toys for children in need this year,” the Hot Springs Corps said in a Facebook posting. “We are thankful for them and all they have done to serve this community through Thanksgiving and Christmas!”
Aiken, South Carolina: The Salvation Army posted a thank-you on Facebook to Savannah River Remediation, whose employees sponsored 157 angels of Salvation Army Angel Tree programs in Aiken and nearby Augusta, Georgia, to ensure local children in need have presents to open on Christmas morning. At the overall Savannah River Site, which takes in a number of local companies and government agencies, more than $16,000 was raised for the Marine Toys for Tots campaign, and more than 5,500 toys were donated; SRR employees have given in excess of 400,000 toys since 1991. The Aiken Corps posted another thank-you to the staff of the Whiskey Road Walmart and Toys for Tots representatives as they shopped for toys to fill Angel Tree requests. “What a wonderful blessing,” the Corps said.
Memphis, Tennessee: The Salvation Army gave a shout-out on Facebook to Grizz Nation of the Memphis Grizzlies professional basketball team, and to Delta Dental of Tennessee, for sending over coloring sheets for children at the Purdue Center of Hope family shelter. “Because of the pandemic, the Memphis Grizzlies weren’t able to be here to serve dinner on Thanksgiving as they have in year’s past, but the little ones loved this festive activity,” the Memphis Area Command said.
Tulsa, Oklahoma: The Bank of Oklahoma and its employees raised $10,040 on Giving Tuesday and presented a check to The Salvation Army live on-air Friday, Dec. 4, during the NewsChannel 8 broadcast of the Angel Tree Virtual Toy Drive. “What a tremendous blessing to receive this gift that will help so many children in need this Christmas,” the Tulsa Area Command posted to Facebook. “Thank you, Bank of Oklahoma, for helping us #RescueChristmas for families in need!”
Savannah, Georgia: The Pooler, Georgia, Senior Center’s van was turned into Santa’s Sleigh as Senior Center Director Susan Edwards and her Red Hat senior group delivered Angel Tree gifts for 30 youngsters to Major Paul Egan and The Salvation Army. “Thank you for sponsoring these angels, we appreciate your support!” the Savannah Corps said in a Facebook posting.
Parkersburg, West Virginia: Mulberry Lane Country Store has been named the winner of the first painted kettle competition of The Salvation Army Parkersburg Corps, having generated $632.66 in donations while on display for five days in early December at the Grand Central Mall. Mulberry Lane’s entry was one of 15 custom-decorated kettles that competed for contributions from passersby; sponsors paid $100 apiece, and the kettles were painted at The Watering Can Art Studio. The event generated $8,290.94 in total donations. In a video posted to Facebook, corps officer Major Patrick Richmond thanked the sponsors, which beside Mulberry Lane and the Watering Can included Reedy Court Reporting, Crown Florals & Gifts, DaVinci’s Restaurant, iHeartMedia Inc., Shirt Tales, The Bodega, Vienna Veterinary Clinic Palmer Veterinary Services, Parkersburg Art Center, sweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt, and Be Braver. “For the community to come out and support us the way you did, thank you so very much,” Major Richmond said. “I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to be trusted with your donations, your time and talents by making these things happen.”
Kingsport, Tennessee: The Sullivan County, Tennessee, EMS posted one of their ambulances outside a local Walmart to accept donations for the Angel Tree program – and collected 605 toys and six bicycles. “That’s amazing! This is the most toys collected in the five years they have conducted this project,” the Kingsport Corps shared to Facebook. “Thank you, Sullivan County EMS, and thank you, Kingsport, for making this the most successful Fill the Box project so far!”
Brookhaven, Georgia: Ethan and Haley Smith portray Joseph and Mary, and Deuce the Camel portrays – well, a camel – in a living Christmas nativity scene, a visual treat for children and parents at the Angel Tree gift distribution Dec. 15 at The Salvation Army Atlanta Temple Corps. In this year’s socially distanced, drive-up gift-giving, volunteers from Temple, Southern Territorial Headquarters next door and the community spent most of the day packing the vehicles of more than 400 families with donated baby car seats, linens, disposable diapers and, of course, toys. (Ethan and Haley, of Pettit Creek Farms in Cartersville, Georgia, brought with them, besides Deuce, three sheep, two goats, and Bill the Donkey.)