STEUBENVILLE - Friday the 13th could be a lucky day for the Salvation Army of Jefferson County, provided area residents come on board to make its first-time participation in "Fill the Truck" a success.
"Fill the Truck" is a program that partners Wal-Mart with the Salvation Army to help the organization collect toys and coats for needy children this Christmas season, according to Capt. Steve Griffin, commanding officer of the Salvation Army of Jefferson County along with his wife, Capt. Dolly Griffin.
This is the first year for the local Salvation Army to participate in what is a collection effort in place for the second year. The "Fill the Truck" drive is part of Wal-Mart's more than 40-year partnership with the Salvation Army. In 2012, nearly 150,000 toys and coats were donated nationwide through "Fill the Truck."
Griffin explained how the effort will benefit local needy children, from newborn to age 12.
"This event will be held on Friday at the Wal-Mart at the Fort Steuben Mall in Steubenville from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.," Griffin said. "There are two cardboard boxes sitting inside the doors as you enter. They look like small trucks," he added.
"As you enter, you will be handed a flyer about the event and what types of items that we need. The customer then purchases a new toy or coat, and after they check out, they drop the items in the box as they leave," he continued.
"This program is a great blessing, as it looks like we will come up short on toys this year, and this program will be a great help for us in filling that shortfall," he said.
Griffin expressed gratitude for area residents' generosity.
"We would like to thank all the Jefferson County residents for their help with this program and for all the assistance throughout the past year," he said.
For information, call (740) 282-5121.
Meanwhile, the Salvation Army's kettle campaign to raise $35,000 continues through Christmas Eve with bell ringers stationed at collection sites from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday at Kroger locations, Kmart, Wal-Mart and Big Lots in Wintersville.
"We're trying to do the same as last year," Griffin had said earlier this month of the fundraising effort. "The money goes to help with Christmas programs," he added. That includes food baskets and toys.
The Salvation Army is operating a gift wrapping station true to tradition at the Fort Steuben Mall and will continue to do so through Dec. 23. Volunteers are there every day except Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The holiday season will wrap up with a New Year's Day dinner at the Salvation Army at 332 N. Fourth St. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 1.
The menu will include ham, sauerkraut, scalloped potatoes, vegetable, rolls and dessert. There will be no deliveries, but patrons are welcome to eat in or get carryouts.
Volunteers to help with the New Year's Day dinner would be appreciated, he said.
To donate to the Salvation Army, call (740) 282-5121 or mail a gift to the Salvation Army at P.O. Box 1226, Steubenville, OH 43952.