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Salvation Army alters process for those needing Christmas help

By Angela Ward
Sept. 17, 2013 at 11 p.m.

The Salvation Army is making some changes to its longstanding process for receiving help at Christmastime and a fundraiser it began last year, an official said Tuesday.

Rather than have people call this month to make appointments during October to determine whether they are eligible for Christmas help, the agency will take walk-in applications from Oct. 14 to 25, said Laurie Ramsey, human resources coordinator.

"We noticed that a lot of people didn't keep their appointments last year, so we decided it would be easier just to interview applicants on a first-come, first-served basis," Ramsey said.

The people who need help providing Christmas presents for their children or Christmas dinner for their families often lack reliable transportation or work jobs with rotating schedules, so it's not always possible for them to keep appointments made several weeks ahead of time, she said.

"Other than not scheduling appointments, the process will be the same," Ramsey said.

The Salvation Army provided Christmas help to 700 families in 2012, but will probably have to reduce that number to 500 families this year, because donations have been down, she said.

Until this year, the local Salvation Army's only major fundraiser - other than its thrift store - had been participating in the national Red Kettle campaign at Christmastime. This year, the nonprofit agency added a fun run.

Emily Belue, organized the fun run, which was held in April of 2013. She said the event is moving up to March 1 for 2014.

"We're moving it up to early March because it seems like so many nonprofit agencies have events during either April or October," Belue said. "There's not as much going on in March, especially before spring break."

Belue acknowledged that the weather was less likely to be as nice during early March as mid-April, but said that serious runners will get out in almost any kind of weather.

"We're asking that people mark their calendars and plan on coming out to support us," she said.



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