Stock­ings For Sol­diers annual col­lec­tion now un­der­way

The Southern Berks News - - FEATURES - From Phil Pagliaro The Sal­va­tion Army

Blue Ridge Com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­vites you to share some of the warmth of the yule­tide sea­son with Key­stone Mil­i­tary Fam­i­lies and their Stock­ing for Sol­diers pro­gram.

Key­stone Mil­i­tary Fam­i­lies’ mis­sion is to pro­vide car­ing sup­port for deployed mil­i­tary mem­bers in all branches of ser­vice to our coun­try; no mat­ter where they are sta­tioned in the world. Our troops give us the free­dom to be safe in our homes.

Key­stone Mil­i­tary Fam­i­lies pro­vides care pack­ages, spe­cial hol­i­day pack­ages, let­ters, cards and more to raise the spir­its of our troops with some of the small com­forts of home that we en­joy ev­ery day.

Kyle Lord, founder, be­gan the pro­gram in 2002, when her son’s unit (PAANG) was be­ing deployed in sup­port of Op­er­a­tion En­dur­ing Free­dom.

In its 16th year of op­er­a­tion, The Stock­ing for Sol­diers pro­gram at KMF is now un­der­way.

Cindy Mellinger, Blue Ridge Com­mu­ni­ca­tions mar­ket­ing/com­mu­nity re­la­tions co­or­di­na­tor states, “Please join us in our 9th year of rec­og­niz­ing and thank­ing the de­fend­ers of our free­dom by fill­ing Christ­mas stock­ings with the much needed items re­quested by our troops. As in pre­vi­ous years, we have also sent Christ­mas cards, with mes­sages of hope and cheer.

Last year our col­lec­tion weighed in at over 8,600 pounds of donations in­clud­ing food, hy­giene and other re­quested items, over 15,000 cards and $25,500.00 for ship­ping. What an amaz­ing show of kind­ness and sup­port. Our goal for the BRC col­lec­tion site this year is to once again ex­ceed last year’s to­tals.”

A dis­play is set up in the Blue Ridge Com­mu­ni­ca­tions’ lobby with brochures and items most re­quested. We in­vite you to drop off your do­nated items un­til Nov. 18 at Blue Ridge Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, 804 Academy Heights Ave., Ephrata, to en­sure the troops re­ceive their stock­ing by Christ­mas.

A list of re­quested care pack­age items can be found at www.face­book.com/Key­stoneMil­i­taryFam­i­lies or www.key­stonemil­i­taryfam­i­lies.org.

Mon­e­tary donations are also needed to ship the stock­ings, which cost ap­prox­i­mately $7.25 each to send. In or­der to help de­fray that ex­pense, die cut Christ­mas card paper stock­ings will be pro­vided for a $5 per stock­ing do­na­tion. Each card gives you am­ple room to write a per­sonal mes­sage to a ser­vice mem­ber.

Mellinger stated, “It is our goal to insert a stock­ing card in each stuffed stock­ing mailed, sim­ply as a re­minder to our men and women over­seas that they are not for­got­ten. The ship­ping costs for this hol­i­day 2018 sea­son will ex­ceed $36,000. Any sup­port given so that a sol­dier, away from home dur­ing the hol­i­days, may feel the love and car­ing from back home is ap­pre­ci­ated.

Our United States ser­vice mem­bers daily make sac­ri­fices to keep Amer­ica free. It is a debt that can never be re­paid. Thank you for your sup­port of this very spe­cial en­deavor. It is im­por­tant for us to let our sol­diers know that we ap­pre­ci­ate their ded­i­ca­tion not only to­day… but al­ways!”

As the hol­i­day sea­son draws near, The Sal­va­tion Army of Read­ing is in deep need of vol­un­teer bell ringers to drive its annual Red Ket­tle fundrais­ing cam­paign.

The iconic tra­di­tion of bell ringers and red ket­tles is the most rec­og­niz­able fundrais­ing ef­fort for The Sal­va­tion Army, which seeks to raise more than $120,000 in Berks County this sea­son. All donations col­lected through­out the annual hol­i­day cam­paign will fund pro­grams that pro­vide hope and change lives year round for Berks County res­i­dents.

Bell ring­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties are open for in­di­vid­u­als and groups start­ing Mon­day, Nov. 12. Vol­un­teers are asked to ring bells while stand­ing along­side red ket­tles for at least a two-hour shift, up to a six-hour shift, Mon­day through Satur­day. Passersby place mon­e­tary donations in­side the ket­tles, which will be sta­tioned out­side re­tail lo­ca­tions such as Wal­mart, Red­ner’s, Sam’s Club, Boscov’s, A.C. Moore and the Fair­grounds Farm­ers Mar­ket un­til Dec. 24.

“Vol­un­teers are truly the army be­hind ‘The Army,’” said Cap­tain Ted Tressler, Corps Of­fi­cer, The Sal­va­tion Army of Read­ing. “Thanks to their self­less ded­i­ca­tion and gen­eros­ity, we are able to raise cru­cial fund­ing for pro­grams that sup­port lo­cal fam­i­lies in cri­sis.”

The Sal­va­tion Army of Read­ing is com­mit­ted to “do­ing the most good” in the com­mu­nity. Each year it serves more than 25,000 peo­ple in cri­sis through util­ity as­sis­tance, food dis­tri­bu­tion, hol­i­day as­sis­tance, cloth­ing and trans­porta­tion vouch­ers and other emer­gency funds. It pro­vides per­ma­nent hous­ing for chron­i­cally home­less and dis­abled in­di­vid­u­als, a learn­ing cen­ter with after-school pro­gram­ming, early child­hood de­vel­op­ment, teen men­tor­ing, sum­mer camp and adult ed­u­ca­tion classes. In 2016, The Sal­va­tion Army of Read­ing also launched Path­way of Hope, an in­ten­sive case man­age­ment ini­tia­tive to help mo­ti­vated fam­i­lies achieve self-suf­fi­ciency.

Com­mu­nity mem­bers who are in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties are asked to con­tact Cap­tain Sharon Tressler at 610-373-0374 or Sharon.tressler@use.sal­va­tion­army.orgfor more in­for­ma­tion.

In­di­vid­u­als who would like to make a fi­nan­cial do­na­tion should visit www.Sal­va­tionArmyRead­ing.org, or text ORKREADING to 71777, by us­ing a mo­bile phone, to make a se­cure credit card do­na­tion. Donations by check may be mailed to 301 S 5th Street, Read­ing, PA 19602.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Donations are be­ing ac­cepted for the Stock­ings for Sol­diers pro­gram.

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