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Bell-ringing drive begins

Donations help Auburn community
By: Bruce Warren Journal Staff Writer
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The Salvation Army’s kettle drive kicked off in front of the Save Mart Supermarket Friday, and Major Ed Loomis is counting on the Auburn community to come through again. With state unemployment now at 8.2 percent and rising, more people than ever are seeking services at The Salvation Army. The need for dollars to be stuffed into those red kettles around the Auburn area is greater than ever, according to Loomis. “The donations so far have been equal to last year but we’re not keeping up with the increased need,” Loomis said in front of Save Mart Friday. Auburn, however, is one of the most generous communities that Loomis has lived in. “This is an awesome community,” Loomis said. “We just need to get the word out. I want to thank people for their past support. I know the community will rise to the occasion this year.” Not every area business would allow Salvation Army bell ringers in front of their stores. Loomis praised Pamela Dobson, Save Mart manager for “bending over backwards to help us.” The Salvation Army still needs volunteer bell ringers to sign up for two-hour shifts, said coordinator Ashlee Southworth, now in her fourth year of organizing volunteers. “We can never get enough volunteers,” Southworth said. “Up to Christmas Eve we’ll still need volunteers.” Michelle Talbott, social services director at the army, is counting on kettle donations to keep providing services to the community. “This is our biggest fundraiser and that (money) will go to our social work throughout the year,” Talbott said. “There will always be a need for food to feed our seniors, homeless and our low-income working poor.” There are so many community members who welcome Salvation Army help during the holidays. Last year, the army served 657 Christmas baskets and 100 seniors received baskets, too. Struggling families who could not provide Christmas gifts for their children benefited from 3,270 toys given last year. In addition, 125 new bikes were given, but not this year. “We’re unable to buy bikes, because the donations did not come in this year,” Talbott said. However, every Auburn resident has the opportunity to purchase a toy for a child by visiting two Bank of America locations (Bell Road and High Street) and the Wells Fargo bank in the Auburn Town Center on Elm Avenue. Christmas trees inside the banks feature angel tags bearing a child’s name. The donor can just take the tag and return it with the suggested toy. “We still need toy donations and our angel trees are already out,” Talbott said. ------------------------- Volunteer Bell Ringers Two-hour slots available Call Ashlee Southworth, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. At (530) 889-3993 Donations: auburnsalarmy.org. Meadow Vista bell ringers: Call John Pineau (530) 878-0480 ---------------------------