Salvation Army helping the community for the holidays

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

“Doing the most good.”

It’s a motto that encompasses everything the Salvation Army strives to do for local communities. In preparation for the coming holiday season, the organization is once again launching several projects to meet the needs of families in Henry County and beyond.

L. to r.: Tammy Jackson, Director of the Salvation Army’s Service Center in McDonough and Tami Cosby, the center’s Assistant Director, stand in front of the location’s Angel Tree and red collection kettle. Photo by Seth Jackson

The Salvation Army’s Service Center in McDonough, at 401 Racetrack Road, will hold its 2016 Red Kettle Program Nov. 4 through Dec. 24. The fundraiser is designed to benefit individuals and families in Henry County during the holiday season and throughout the year, said the center’s Director, Tammy Jackson.

“It is also used throughout the country in every aspect that the Salvation Army deals with, including disaster response, helping families get back on their feet, homelessness, clothing drives, our food pantries, helping people battle addiction – all over the world, basically,” said Jackson. “Not just domestically, but internationally as well. We’re asking for Henry businesses that would like to have a kettle and a bell ringer out front to contact us.”

Jackson’s fundraising goal for this year’s program is $200,000. She said several local businesses have lent their support for the endeavor in recent years, including Hobby Lobby, J.C. Penney, Belk, Kroger, Sam’s Club and Walmart, and that she hopes to add more donation spots locally this year.

Jackson explained that, despite the Salvation Army’s a lengthy track record of serving communities all over the world, some people remain unaware of everything the organization does. One of the most recent examples of the organization’s mission to serve others, she said, was seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which recently damaged portions of the country’s southeastern coast.

“People rarely see the Salvation Army, but they see other agencies out there,” said Jackson. “But we’re there, usually behind the scenes. Our motto is ‘doing the most good.’ All of our fundraising efforts through the holidays support the next year’s efforts to do the most good in our community, both domestically and internationally.”

The Salvation Army is also working, in the coming weeks, to fill the needs of local senior residents by collecting donations of personal-care items. Jackson said donations of items such as diapers, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and soap can go a long way in helping families and individuals cope during a financial struggle.

“We’d also put those items in our food pantries so we can help families that come in for the pantry, with personal items as well,” she said. “When you don’t have money, you go without. It doesn’t take a grand gesture. If you’ve got some extra soap lying around and you don’t like that brand, bring it to us. We can give it to a family that could really use it.”

The Salvation Army recently took applications for families to participate for the first time in the annual Angel Tree program. Through Dec. 9, visitors to the Service Center can choose a tag with the name of a child in search of gifts for Christmas, said the center’s Assistant Director, Tami Cosby.

She said while the Angel Tree program has enjoyed a good response on the whole, local participation in the program was down last year because people were unaware that the program existed. She hopes additional advertising and publicity for the endeavor will help to change that.

“I had a lot of people call who didn’t even know what an Angel Tree was,” said Cosby. “They had never heard of it before. This year we’re really trying to promote it a lot better. I’ve sent letters to a lot of churches and schools.”

She added that city officials in McDonough have signed off on a plan to allow the Service Center to put up Christmas kettles around the Square to generate funds for needy families.

“All of the money raised in Henry stays in our local service center, so that funds all of our programs through the year,” said Cosby.

Jackson added that she is grateful for weekly and monthly donors who help to keep the Salvation Army afloat locally. As the holidays approach, she hopes their generosity will help send a positive message to the Henry County community.

“We want to remind everyone what the holidays are really about, and that everyone remembers to be kind and patient and caring and loving about our neighbors,” said Jackson. “We get all excited about the holidays, but we’ve also got to remember that giving isn’t just about material things. We need to slow down and start caring about each other.”

For more information, call Tammy Jackson or Tami Cosby at 770-957-8868.