Salvation Army drive surpasses holiday goal

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 12, 2009

The local Salvation Army’s predictions of breaking its 2008donation totals were realized last week when the organization’sbank in McComb announced the yearly goal was surpassed by $38 andsome change.

Lincoln County Coordinator Wesley Kent said the Salvation Armycollected $30,038.32 from its bell ringing drive at the BrookhavenWal-Mart in December, surpassing its $30,000 goal. The total amountraised in the city was well more than 2007’s goal and total of$24,000, which was collected in the midst of a much more favorableeconomy.

The fact that the $30,000 mark was met and exceeded in lastyear’s falling economy was most impressive, Kent said, especiallyconsidering the work was done in five fewer days than lastyear.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In his official statement, Kent said he and other Salvation Armyofficials were nervous about setting a higher goal in 2008 with thenation’s economy in a downturn.

But with harder times comes greater need, Kent said, so the barwas raised. Apparently, they needn’t have worried aboutBrookhaven’s ability to give.

“I just thank the Lord I live in a community where people careso much about each other,” he said. “I just noticed that peoplewould pass by at Wal-Mart without very much in their shoppingbuggy, but they would stop anyway and put something in the kettlefor the Salvation Army.”

From its single ringing point at Wal-Mart, the Brookhavenvolunteers raised almost half of the total amount collectedthroughout Amite, Lincoln and Pike counties. Kent said the overalltotal from December’s efforts was $72,651, 86 percent of which -approximately $62,500 – will be spent to assist needy families inthe local chapter’s five-county area.

“It helps whomever is in need,” Kent said. “People who have losttheir homes, have trouble with doctor bills – all kinds ofthings.”

Aside from the monetary donations, Kent said the Salvation Armyalso received numerous gift packages for children. As garbage bagsfull of new toys obviously would not fit into the plastic kettles,Kent often found himself driving around the county to pick updonations and ferry them to the Salvation Army’s office inMcComb.

One reason the Salvation Army enjoyed so much success when othercharities’ collections were down in 2008 was the spirit of localvolunteers, Kent said. The calls for help the organization outthrough local media did not go unanswered, he said.

Before the drive began right after Thanksgiving, the SalvationArmy was hoping to have at least 90 volunteers to man the kettlesat Wal-Mart in 10-hour increments. By the time drive ended onChristmas Eve, Kent said he had well more than 100 volunteers -individuals and members from several clubs and organizations -ringing in 12-hour increments.