RING THEM BELLS

BY MICHAEL CAHILL

Salvation Army Kicks Off Holiday Drive

(L to R) Volunteer Members of the Salvation Army Brass Band with Santa in the Background: Don Spencer, Derek Lance, Andrew Baker, and Jeff Schultz.

In the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, the Rockland County Salvation Army kicked off its 2012 Red Kettle Holiday Drive Tuesday afternoon at the Palisades Mall.

According to Major Philip Lloyd, the Rockland County Coordinator for the Salvation Army, the organization is hoping to raise $125,000 during this year’s drive, which runs until December 24.

That money will go towards funding the Salvation Army’s charitable programs, and it looks like this year they are going to need all the donations they can get.

In the weeks since Hurricane Sandy, the Salvation Army has been out helping with the clean up and recovery effort. They spent a week in the Village of Piermont directly after the storm providing support, and distributing meals, and have been distributing supplies all over the region.

Now, with the holidays approaching, they are seeing an increase in requests for help. The Salvation Army Angel Tree program for example, which gives needy children presents during the holidays, has seen an increase in the number of requests, and it is only November.

The Salvation Army will have 23 kettle locations through Rockland County, including four (one on each floor) at the Palisades Mall. On weekends, mall shoppers can enjoy member of the Salvation Army brass band playing holiday songs.

(L to R): Major Philip Lloyd, Rockland County Coordinator for the Salvation Army, Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack, Rockland County Legislator Ed Day, and Major Jodie Lloyd of the Salvation Army.

Other locations for the kettles include local grocery stores and retailers like Big Lots, and Walmart. All the money raised this season will go into programs for the needy and anything extra will go back to help fund the organization.

Rockland County Legislator Ed Day attended the kickoff along with Clarkstown Town Supervisor Alex Gromack, and State Senator David Carlucci.

Day said he is personally involved with donation activities this holiday season and will be helping distribute meals to shut-ins on Thanksgiving. “I think it’s important that people find it in their own hearts to help,” said Day. After all, he added, these organizations are “fueled by people.”

Gromack said he was proud to have the Salvation Army headquartered in Clarkstown, and encouraged people to give generously this year because of  the need created by Hurricane Sandy.

At the kickoff event, a four-piece brass band serenaded the attendees with holiday music as the first dollars of the season found their way into the kettle.