From Staff Reports
The Meridian Star
The Salvation Army of Meridian will kick off the Christmas season today at 11 a.m. inside Bonita Lakes Mall near J.C. Penny's.
"The second grade chorus from Lamar School will help us with our kickoff," Salvation Army Maj. Walter Strong said.
Volunteers will begin manning Salvation Army donation kettles today and will continue daily until Dec. 24, except for Sundays and on Thanksgiving Day.
"Our goal is $115,000 this year, even with five less days to ring," strong said.
The Salvation Army donation kettles will be located outside of Winn Dixie, Dirt Cheap, Bonita Lakes Mall, J.C. Penny's, Dillards, Sears and Walgreens. Beginning Nov. 29, kettle locations will be added at Walmart and Sam's Club stores in Meridian, Philadelphia and Newton.
Strong is asking for volunteers to sign up to ring a bell at kettle locations during the holiday season.
"We would like to double the number of volunteer hours we had from last year's total of 360 hours," Strong said.
So far, members from the following organizations have volunteered to man the kettles: NJROTC of Northeast Lauderdale High School; Meridian Exchange Club; Optimist Club; Rotary Club; RSVP Volunteers; Delta Sigma Beta Sorority; Civitan Club and Rush Hospital.
"There are still many more days and locations available," Strong said.
The Angel Tree at Bonita Lakes Mall will also kick off today and will run through Dec. 14. People are encouraged to select an angel from the tree and purchase gifts for that child. Volunteers are also needed to assist with this program.
To volunteer, call The Salvation Army at 601-483-6156; email Strong at Walter_strong@uss.salvationarmy.org; or go online to www.redkettlevolunteer.org.