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Salvation Army in need of more bell-ringers

When it comes to giving, Brookhaven comes through the most, said Salvation Army Capt. Rick Boone. But his army could use a few more “soldiers” in the bell-ringing ranks.

     “This is the most giving city we’ve ever seen out of all of the cities we’ve been in,” Boone about Brookhaven.

     The Salvation Army Kettle Campaign is in full force once again and donations are already up from last year.

     As of Friday, the grand total for the five counties covered is $49,000. The area Salvation Army chapter supports Lincoln, Lawrence, Walthall, Amite and Pike counties.

     “This one location is worth about four,” said Boone, referring to the Brookhaven Walmart.

     However, even though giving is up this year, volunteer numbers are down.

     “We are scrapping for bell-ringers,” said Boone. “We need people to come and donate some of their time to help us reach our goal.”

     This year’s goal is $110,000 across the counties. Last year, the total received was about $85,000.

     However, the goal cannot be reached without volunteers.

     Bell-ringers volunteer between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Brookhaven Walmart. The Salvation Army has had to get people from other areas, such as McComb, to fill the need.

     To volunteer, people may contact Mamie Kettle at 601-248-7581, Bobby Harris at 601-833-7663 or the office at 601-249-0131. Family, groups or individuals can volunteer.

     “People tend to give when you have two or three people (ringing bells),” said Boone. “It’s relational. There’s nothing more important to the Salvation Army than building relationships.”

     The local Salvation Army is also serving three new locations this year: Hazlehurst, Amite, La., and Hammond, La. Walmarts.

     With the funds received, the Salvation Army serves roughly 3,073 people with clothing, furniture, groceries, lodging, medications, rent and utilities, said Kettle. Additional services include Angel Tree (257 families), school supplies (335 children), Thanksgiving vouchers (83 elderly) and Community Care Ministries (876 individuals), according to Kettle.

     “The money is not just for Christmas. It’s for all during the year,” said Boone’s wife Darlene Boone, who is also a Salvation Army captain.

     The charitable organization was founded in 1965 by William Booth and is based on Christian principles.

     A Christmas giving program, the Angel Tree will benefit children ages 0 to 12.

     Civic clubs, church, etc., have adopted approximately 325 angels this year, said Darlene Boone. About 50 are left. To adopt angel, contact Darlene Boone at 601-810-2905.

     A new program added by the Salvation Army this year is “Fill the Truck.”

     “This is a special program that Walmart has allowed us to do this year,” said D. Boone.

     “Fill the Truck” asks Walmart shoppers to pick up a children’s coat or toy while shopping, then give to the Salvation Army when leaving.

     Even when the economy is down, Rick Boone said people seem to give more. He attributes this to God.

     “God always comes through,” he said.