November 24, 2014 9:30:12 AM
The local branch of The Salvation Army is asking for the community's help this holiday season.
From the familiar sight of the Salvation Army Bell ringers at various locations throughout town to the annual Angel Tree, trees filled with needs of local children whose parents cannot afford clothes and toys for Christmas, donations of time and money are very much needed, according to Major Eric Roberts.
Approximately 600 children from 225 families are affiliated with the Angel Tree program this year, Roberts said. First names and ages of local children are written on a card along with their clothing sizes and several wishes for toys. Those cards are then placed on trees where locals can "adopt" a child and purchase the items on the card. The items, along with the corresponding card, are then returned to The Salvation Army. The trees are located at Leigh Mall, Krispy Kreme, Walmart, Cadence Bank, the Trustmark bank downtown and two Citizens Bank locations, one on Lemhberg Road and another on Highway 45. The gifts will be given to the children's guardians shortly before Christmas.
On Nov. 28 and 29, a "stuff the bus" will be held at Walmart for donated toys and coats. The donated items will be used to supplement Angel Tree donations, Roberts said.
Also on Nov. 28, bell ringers will be stationed throughout the Friendly City with the familiar bell and red bucket. Ringers will be in front of Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Walmart, Kmart, Food Giant, Walgreens, Belk, Leigh Mall and Kroger. All donations benefit local families and senior citizens. To volunteer, contact the Salvation Army at 662-327-5137.
Roberts encouraged people to give or volunteer, saying, "It makes you feel better about the holidays. Whenever I volunteer, I'm not doing things out of responsibility. I'm doing it out of love."
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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