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Busy season for Salvation Army

Time for Thanksgiving dinner and kettle campaign

DESTINED FOR DINNER — Lt. Erik Muhs of the Salvation Army of Steubenville, 322 N. Fourth St., checks out the turkey supply in anticipation of the upcoming community Thanksgiving dinner to be held there from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 28. -- Janice Kiaski

STEUBENVILLE — Holiday needs tend to overlap this time of year, and that’s no exception when it comes to what the Salvation Army of Steubenville hopes to accomplish with Thanksgiving and Christmas looming.

The traditional Thanksgiving Day meal will be held at the Salvation Army at 332 N. Fourth St. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 28 and is free and open to the public, according to Lt. Erik Muhs, who serves as pastor/corps officer along with his wife, Barri Vazquez-Muhs.

“My first Thanksgiving here, we did about 575 meals, including takeouts,” Muhs said, noting home-delivered meals can be arranged for those who are handicapped or unable to leave their homes, generally senior citizens unable to get out because bus transportation is not available.

The deliveries apply to Steubenville, Mingo Junction, Wintersville and the southern part of Toronto. Those wanting to make arrangements for deliveries should call the Salvation Army at (740) 282-5121.

“This year — as we did last year — you can eat one meal in and who ever is here can take one meal home with them, but you have to be here in order to get a takeout meal,” Muhs said.

The Salvation Army’s annual Christmas kettle campaign, meanwhile, which hopefully will generate $50,000, got an early one-day boost on Nov. 9 at Wal-Mart in Steubenville because “nationally, Wal-Mart partnered with the Salvation Army to start our Angel Tree program, which is the tags that you see at local stores that you can buy presents for local children in your area,” Muhs explained. “Wal-Mart wanted to give us kind of a boost to do this so nationally we started our angel tree and kettle kick-off on Nov. 9, which is earlier than usual, but the tags normally go out about that time of the year. Wal-mart really wanted to give emphasis to those tags this year nationally, and we benefited from that locally because they also allowed us to put a kettle up for that day only, which we made more than $550 in that one location for that one day,” Muhs said,

The iconic red kettles are out at limited locations now — at Rural King, JC Penney and Big Lots — and come Black Friday will be at both doors at Wal-Mart; Kroger locations in Wintersville and Steubenville; and Walgreens.

Muhs also will have a kettle presence at the Steubenville Nutcracker Village and Advent Market and will be there on Light-Up Night on Nov. 26.

The kettle campaign runs Mondays through Saturdays through Dec. 24 with no collections on Sundays. The general hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. provided volunteers are in place.

“We are always in need of more volunteers,” Muhs said, encouraging individuals, churches, businesses or groups interested to contact the Salvation Army and talk with Lorraine Linton, kettle volunteer coordinator.

A new twist to the kettle campaign accommodates potential givers who prefer to make a donation through their phone.

“If you don’t have change, cash or a check, we now take credit cards via mobile phones,” Muhs said. “We have a QR scan that is compatible with Apple and Goggle devices, and they would scan it, the internet would pop up and it has suggested donation amounts in increments of $5 to $25 or you can specify an amount,” he said.

“Whatever zip code your bill goes to is the Salvation Army that will receive it, so if your zip code is from Richmond to Rayland and everything in between, it will go to the Steubenville Salvation Army,” he said. “If you have a Toronto zip code, it will go to the Toronto service unit, and if you live in Tiltonsville and the area of southern Jefferson County, that will go to the Belmont Salvation Army in Bellaire.”

As for Angel Tree tags, the number is much higher, due to need but also heavier sign-up promoting, he said.

“We have more than 210 angel tags that we have to fill, which is actually double what we’ve done in the past two years,” he said. “In 2017, we had 66 families and in 2018, we had 68 families. This year in 2019 we have more than 110 families that have signed up for our Angel Tree and Christmas food assistance program.” The Angel Trees are at various locations, including Wal-Mart, First National Bank in Wintersville and Steubenville, Applebee’s, the Wal-Mart Distribution Center for employees, the main office at Eastern Gateway Community College and Dollar General in Hollywood City Center, a new spot this year, according to Muhs.

Participants are asked to return unwrapped gifts to either the spot where the tag was taken or to the Salvation Army from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. The deadline is Dec. 12.

Another participation option is to donate money with checks made payable to the Salvation Army of Steubenville with “Christmas” noted in the memo line. They can be dropped off or mailed to P.O. Box 1226, Steubenville OH 43952.

Whatever the season, the Salvation Army appreciates the help it receives.

“We already have several service groups from Big Red and Indian Creek reaching out to us to want to be a part of our kettle program this year, and it just shows that the holidays really bring people closer together and that they’re seeing the Christ in Christmas and knowing that the Salvation Army is a great vehicle to give those donations because we’re a trusted organization and people know that those in need can come here and get what they need,” Muhs said.

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