Salvation Army kicks off holiday campaigns

Published 7:14 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2011

GETTING READY TO KICK OFF the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle fundraising campaign are, from left to right, Southwest Georgia Farm Credit President Richard Monson, Renee Ausley, Mandy Johnson, Bainbridge Dairy Queen owner Gary Phillips and Gloria Harrell, director of the Salvation Army’s Bainbridge Service Center.

The Salvation Army Bainbridge service center is kicking off its Red Kettle campaign on Friday, Nov. 25, with several businesses, organizations and individuals ringing the bell to raise money to assist residents in Decatur and Seminole counties.

The Red Kettle campaign is one of the organization’s major fund-raising campaigns of the year. Most of the money raised here stays here, and it used to assist residents of Decatur and Seminole counties with emergency needs such as food, clothing, utilities and other necessities, as well as assist residents here and afar following disasters.

Due to the continued tough economic conditions, more people are requesting financial help than in past years, said Gloria Harrell, director of the Salvation Army service center in Bainbridge.

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“The people who are eligible for receiving assistance are experiencing hardships caused by no fault of their own,” Harrell said. “The money we raise through the Christmas Red Kettles is how we are able to offer financial assistance, along with medical assistance and help with housing.”

“The assistance we give isn’t just a handout,” she said. “We look at all of a family’s finances and work out a budget that can help them avoid problems in the future.

Harrell and the Salvation Army also partner with agencies such as the American Red Cross, which provides assistance to victims of fires and other disasters, and the Neighborhood Service Center, which provides help with utility bills and other services.

Among the people who come to the Salvation Army for help are families who are suffering from not having enough money to live on and are emotionally drained from worry and stress.

“You see people who get to the point where they are really ready to just give up,” Harrell said. “We try to restore their hope that they are going to be OK … I even pray with some of them.”


‘Angels’ help Salvation Army help those in need

Harrell said she is grateful for the many people who offer up their money, talents and time to help the Salvation Army, without expecting any recognition in return.

Along with the Christmas Kettles, the Salvation Army also depends on funding from the United Way, civic groups like the Bainbridge Bikefest organizers and the Deep South Riders motorcycling club, local churches and generous private citizens.

On the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, the Deep South Riders are partnering with the Salvation Army to deliver Thanksgiving meals to people who need them, Harrell said.

The Deep South Riders are also holding a Toy Run to collect Toys for Tots on Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. at the Charter House Inn. The club has called in other bikers from Pensacola, Fla., and Tallahassee, Fla., to help out with the cause.


Dairy Queen, Farm Credit helping raise money

One of the businesses participating is Dairy Queen, which is teaming with the Salvation Army to encourage people to “feed the kettle and save some bucks.”

Gary Phillips, the owner of the Bainbridge Dairy Queen, is offering a coupon book worth $30 in savings to Dairy Queen customers who make a $5 donation to the Salvation Army’s red kettle.

The coupon books are for sale at the Dairy Queen, which is located at 519 W. Shotwell St., and at the Salvation Army’s service center’s store at 600 S. Scott St.

Southwest Georgia Farm Credit has employees ready to staff both doors of Wal-Mart on Friday. Dec. 16.

“We felt honored just to be asked to assist with the Red Kettle Campaign,” said Southwest Georgia Farm Credit President Richard Monson. “It’s our way of giving back at a very special time of year.”

The Red Kettle campaign continues through Christmas Eve, Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Other places around Bainbridge where the Salvation Army’s bell ringers will be stationed include Winn Dixie, Harvey’s, Seminole Wind Restaurant, Belk’s and the Dollar General next to the U.S. Post Office.


Toys for Tots

The Salvation Army is also collecting toys for area children through the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program. The goal is to collect as many toys as possible between now and the deadline of Dec. 10.

Toys being donated to Toys for Tots should be new and unwrapped, with a suggested value of $10.

“Smart shoppers can get toys that normally cost $10 on sale for less than that as holiday sales are held,” Harrell said.

People who want to donate toys can bring them by the Salvation Army service center on South Scott Street or deliver them to the Junior ROTC room at Bainbridge High School after students return from the Thanksgiving holiday break.

Until it’s time to deliver the toys, they are being stored in a secure building, thanks to Miles Realty, Harrell said.

All of the toys will be delivered to deserving children in Decatur, Miller and Seminole counties who have been previously identified by the Salvation Army.