Dear Editor:

The Christmas season is now behind us and the decorations are packed away, but The Tamaqua Salvation Army would like to thank the people of Schuylkill and Carbon counties who graciously supported The Army and all Corps across the country during this holiday season and throughout the year. Through your help, The Tamaqua Corps was able to assist more than 400 children with Angel Tree Christmas gifts and clothing, as well as 855 families with a Ham and/or Christmas food basket.

The Salvation Army faces new and difficult challenges every year to raise the funds necessary to support our efforts in area communities. This year was no different, but local media helped bring attention to the situation. An outpouring of assistance from area businesses, churches, fraternal organizations and individuals were able to step up and partner with the Army during the holiday season, many of whom had gone above and beyond its charitable expectations.

Salvation Army officers Major Sharon Whispell and Major Margaret Johnson encourage us to "have faith in God and His people. "We are overwhelmed with the love and warmth that came from our community. Each contributor had donated money, time and/or gifts. We are very grateful. God bless each of you. This blessed experience was a perfect example of the holiday spirit and the "gift of giving."

The Salvation Army would like to foster relationships with volunteer groups, business groups, churches, clubs, teams and others. Next year we may ask those groups to help us raise awareness of the needs in our community and to help present The Salvation Army in the positive, hopeful manner that personifies who we try to be.

There are many ways in which a group or individual may participate. Volunteering for the Red Kettles is one holiday tradition, and the best way to help during the holiday season. By ringing a bell for just one day, a group can raise enough money to provide seven to ten families with a month's worth of supplemental food. Proceeds from the Christmas campaign account for most of the funding for local outreach and disaster assistance carried out by the Salvation Army in the year that follows. Tamaqua's campaign fell just $3,500.00 short of its goal this year, but will take stronger aim next year.

Terry, an Angel Tree volunteer said, "It was a humbling experience, working as a first time volunteer on the Salvation Army's Angel Tree Project. It gave me a deeper appreciation for what the Sal does, not only at Christmas, but all year long." Allison, mother of four children said, "It is a blessing to know that someone out there thought about my children and would sacrifice their time and money to give them gifts."

Major Sharon Whispell and Major Margaret Johnson cheered all efforts, as volunteers and Corps members of the Salvation Army helped deliver and pick up kettle workers to locations, organized donated angel tree gifts, stood kettles, distributed gifts to hospitals and nursing homes and provided Christmas cheer by playing in the bell choir at local venues.

No campaign could succeed without generous and compassionate contributors. Of all the things in which a community can take pride, the collective efforts of the Schuylkill and Carbon County citizens on behalf of others remains one of the noblest and finest. Thank you, Tamaqua, for being a great place to work, live and share.

Officers and spokespersons from the Salvation Army are available to speak to your group, and share its vision and philosophies with you. For more information, contact the Tamaqua office at (570) 668-0410.

C. Dina Depos

Development Associate/

Program Coordinator