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Salvation Army Pair Issues Thanks

Covington, VA (Jan. 6, 2021) -

(Editor's note: the following is a letter from Major George and Robin Hackbarth of the Covington Salvation Army)

"Along with the familiar Red Kettles, the Angel Tree program is one of The Salvation Army's highest profile Christmas efforts. Every child deserves to experience the joy of Christmas morning with new toys and clothing. The Angel Tree is a way for The Salvation Army to provide gifts to those in need. Angel Tree was created by The Salvation Army in 1979 by Majors Charles and Shirley White when they worked with a Lynchburg, Virginia shopping mall to provide clothing and toys for children at Christmas time. The program got its name because the Whites identified the wishes of local children by writing their gift needs on Hallmark greeting cards that featured pictures of angels. They placed the cards on a Christmas tree at the mall to allow shoppers to select children to help. The Salvation Army Angel Tree program helps provide Christmas gifts for hundreds of thousands of children around the country each year.

"On behalf of the employees, advisory board members, and volunteers of The Salvation Army, my wife Robin and I would like to thank everybody who helped support our annual Angel Tree program. This past Christmas was our second year here in Covington and we are very impressed with the members of the community who provided toys and clothing for the Angel Tree. We were able to give a bag full of toys and clothing to 229 children in our area and Lexington and Rockbridge County.

"This year was a little bit different then past years, due to Covid-19. Clients were able to sign up for our program online instead of coming to our office. We had a few hiccups, but for the most part the registration went better than expected. Each applicant had to provide necessary information to determine qualification for participation in the program. Once a child has been registered and accepted as an Angel, their Christmas wish list is shared with donors in our community who purchase gifts of new clothing and toys. The gifts are distributed to the family to place under their family Christmas tree.

We were also blessed this year with $50 gift cards from our divisional office in Washington DC, that were provided to each family to purchase food for their Christmas dinner. We also delivered 408 drinking cups with straws to residents of 7 nursing homes.

"Each year my wife and I include a Veggie tale video to each family. Veggie tale videos uses cartoon vegetables to tell a story from the Bible in a way that is fun for children to watch and learn about the Bible. We feel like this is a great way to deliver the true meaning of Christmas to children who may never attend church or have never been told about the birth of Christ.

"I would also like to take this time to thank everybody who dropped a donation into one of our red kettles. God was good to us this year and with the help of 233 volunteers, we were able to reach our goal for this Christmas season. The Red Kettle program is our largest annual fund-raising event. The money raised in the kettles provides funds for our Angel Tree program and is used throughout the year to assist families with food, utility and rent assistance. Last year we assisted 916 families including 2551 people with food boxes, utility assistance, cleaning supplies and other types of assistance. We are continuing to help those with financial needs in our community.

"So once again Robin and I want to thank everyone who helped us this Christmas season to put a smile on a child’s face from the gifts, we were able to provide to them. Thanks to all of you who donate through the red kettles and donation through mail appeal. The Alleghany/Highland community is full of people who have been blessed financially and able to share those blessings with The Salvation Army so that we can help those in desperate need at Christmas and throughout the year."

Major George and Robin Hackbarth


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