Hope (and help) wanted
by Jennifer Cohron
Nov 16, 2011 | 2316 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Salvation Army of Walker County director Lona Courington, left, and Jackie Gilbreath of First Bank of Jasper ring the bell during the Salvation Army’s 2010 Red Kettle Campaign. This year’s campaign will kick off soon and organizers are hoping to raise $75,000. - Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
The Salvation Army of Walker County director Lona Courington, left, and Jackie Gilbreath of First Bank of Jasper ring the bell during the Salvation Army’s 2010 Red Kettle Campaign. This year’s campaign will kick off soon and organizers are hoping to raise $75,000. - Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
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Bells have been ringing around the Salvation Army's red kettles for 120 years. The need for goodwill donations from holiday shoppers is as great now as it has ever been.

Local Salvation Army director Lona Courington said the fundraising goal for the upcoming Christmas campaign is $75,000.

"The economy has again made it a rough year for many families, and we've seen it firsthand in the numbers of people coming to us for help," Courington said. "It's especially hard during the holiday season when so many of our neighbors don't know how they'll have the means to provide for their families. That's why the Salvation Army looks to our community for their generosity: so we can show that same compassion and kindness to the less fortunate."

Proceeds will be used to continue the programs that provided food to 5,389 county residents last year and served 519 families who were affected by disasters.

In addition, 179 school children received backpacks filled with school supplies and more than 200 kids received clothing and Christmas gifts. Eight children were provided scholarships to a week-long summer camp as well.

Courington said families who are struggling with the country's ongoing economic crisis while also trying to recover from the April 27 tornado outbreak are looking for more than help. That's why the theme of this year's campaign is "Hope Wanted."

Courington added that any financial contribution will help, and donations of time are accepted as well. "Reaching out to those in need by volunteering to ring bells or serve in our food bank is a wonderful way to connect with the community, to give back, and to share blessings and holiday joy," Courington said.

Volunteers are asked to call Courington at 221-7737, Jasper kettle coordinator Belinda Ruble at 522-0732 or Sumiton coordinator Susie Roberts at 706-1944.