The Jacksonville Salvation Army is set to kick off the holiday festivities tonight at Community Park.
Captain Charles Pinkston appeared on WLDS’ “AM-Conversation” this week talk about the 2015 Tree of Light Celebration starting at 6 p.m.
“We’re gonna have our Salvation Army out there serving hot chocolate, apple cider and cookies. The JHS and Turner choir students will be singing some Christmas carols for us too.”
The bell ringing campaign starts on Friday and runs through Christmas Eve. Pinkston noted Jacksonville residents were very generous to volunteer their time last year and hopes to get a great turnout of energetic people.
“To stand out there and ring a bell for an hour is tough, but if you can sing or play an instrument it can put a smile on the face of those who are actually donating. The more volunteer bell ringers we have, the less paid bell ringers we have out there. That helps increase the money we have over the year to help clients with different services.”
Pinkston says the 2014 campaign fell about $20,000 short of the overall goal, but that hasn’t stopped the local Salvation Army from raising expectation.
“Our goal for this year is $200,000. For the kettles by themselves we are looking for $100,000. Last year we did around $73,000. This is to help us get through the whole year,”
Last year, during our noon time feeding program, we served over 17,000 meals. Our social services program helped over 2,400 families, which represents over 6,000 men, women and children in the community.”
The annual Thanksgiving meal will be held on November 20th at Grace United Methodist Church. Pinkston says over 300 meals were served last year.
Anyone with questions is encouraged to call the Salvation Army at 245-7124.