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Salvation Army, Angel Tree helped 920 kids

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Giving was up during the holiday season, and program leader Bonnie Roberts was ecstatic.

By Sally Sanderson Fay

Bonnie Roberts received 48 cases of basketballs during the Christmas season. She isn’t even an equipment manager for any of the famed basketball teams in the area.
She works part time at Commonwealth Bank, but she sure did put to use the 720 basketballs she received.
Roberts is a board member and volunteer for the Shelbyville unit of the Salvation Army.
For the past six years it has been her duty along with a various band of elves to make sure the Angel Tree program to provide Christmas for underprivileged kids goes off successfully.
And she is celebrating this year because the community and the Salvation Army took care of the wishes of 920 children in Shelby County.
 “Many churches in the area adopt angels, and this year 600 angels were taken care of from church congregations,” she said. “Shoppers at Walmart and Goody’s took care of 200 angels, and the Salvation Army shopped for the remaining children.”
In addition to the community, several organizations came to the rescue. Bob Cross of the Toys for Tots campaign delivered all the basketballs and a case of remote control cars.
Obviously, not all 920 children need or want a basketball, so Roberts contacted the athletic departments of Shelby County and Collins high schools, which each took multiple cases of basketballs.
“I can’t stress enough,” Roberts said, “how much the community came together to make the Angel Tree work and the Red Kettle campaign successful.”
She said collections from the Red Kettle totaled about $20,000, which is up about 25 percent.
“We had some hundred-dollar checks, some hundred-dollar bills – but it was mainly one dollar bills that ended up in our kettles,” she said.
“For a long time there was a gentleman in the community who always gave five thousand dollars to the Salvation Army during the Red Kettle Campaign. He preferred to keep his giving anonymous. He died several years ago; we have missed him and his contribution.”
Funds raised through the Red Kettle Campaign are designated for operating expenses for the unit throughout the year. So careful of the spirit of giving, Roberts explained about the board and volunteer luncheon declined to use that money for that luncheon.
“We have a luncheon every January,” she said. “We don’t think it is right to use any of that money that was donated to help people in need, so we have a garage sale in the spring, specifically for the purpose was raising money for the luncheon.”
For a sense of scale, note that that in Jefferson County 12,452 children were served through the Angel Tree program and $402,498 was raised in kettles, with the help of 547 volunteers who worked 1,641 hours and paid workers who toiled 11,047.