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WJBD - Local News - Salvation Army Tree of Lights Surpasses Fundraising Goal

Salvation Army Tree of Lights Surpasses Fundraising Goal

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

The Salvation Army soared over its Tree of Lights fund raising goal.  The General Manager of the local Salvation Army Sharon Hall made the announcement at the annual banquet to thank bell ringing and other volunteers.  "Our advisory board set a goal this year of $60,000.  We raised over $65,000, which in this economy is wonderful", said Hall.  

Hall says the Salvation Army provided a large number of services to the less fortunate in the area.  "On Holiday Help, over 750 families received food baskets both at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Over 600 children received toys.  We give away all the coats that are donated to the Salvation Army.  We had two different days where we gave away coats and throughout the thrift store too.  We've given away over 1,500 coats just this year", said Hall.

Hall says on an on-going basis, the Salvation Army provides 500 to 600 food baskets each month and helps with rent, utilities and other expenses to help people get on their feet.   Hall noted they are one of the few towns that doesn't pay bellringers.  As a result, she reports they have another $25,000 a year to put back into programs.     

Dr. Dee Boswell noted he sees all kinds of people putting money in the buckets because they know the need.  He says as a result the people of Centralia are blessed.

Salvation Army Board Member and State Representative John Cavaletto told the crowd gathered at the Demaree Methodist Church in Centralia he doesn't remember a worse economic time in his life.  He said he was proud to be part of the assistance provided by the Salvation Army.  "We need to change our attitude and we need to bring jobs home so people can work and so people like you who want to work can work.  People want to take care of themselves.  They don't want to be dependable on us.  They want to be independent and we want to make them that way, but right now, this organization has saved a lot of lives", said Cavaletto.

Cavaletto feels bring jobs back to Illinois will help solve the state's problem with crushing debt and pension problems.  

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