Salvation Army weathers rough Christmas

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Dec. 16, 2002
Capts. Joe and JoAnn Mur, who run the local Salvation Army, met with The Meridian Star editorial board last week to discuss their funding and the Angel Tree project.
The Salvation Army, at 120 Sixth St., is an agency of The United Way of East Mississippi.
The Salvation Army's distribution center is in the former Winn Dixie building in the Broadmoor Shopping Center at the intersection of North Hills Street and Poplar Springs Drive.
Gifts for the Angel Tree project can be dropped off there from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today through Friday.
The Meridian Star: What happened this year that has hurt the Angel Tree project?
Joe Mur: It's been a tough year for everybody. It's been a fast season and we're kind of stuck. We had a couple of hundred more children listed this year.
JoAnn Mur: We also had a shorter holiday season with Thanksgiving being so late. We had our Angel Trees out about a week before Thanksgiving, but we still lost about a week of shopping from last year.
The Star: Is there still time to get donated gifts to children in the Angel Tree project?
JoAnn: Our distribution starts (Wednesday) and we have to sort through everything (today) and Tuesday so we could use anything that could still come in (today) or Tuesday. Gifts don't have to be wrapped. Just buy for the child and return them at our office or our distribution center.
The Star: What happens for those children whose needs were not met through the Angel Tree project?
JoAnn: We try to make sure everybody is taken care of in some way.
Joe: We have some extra stuff, but the Salvation Army is in such bad financial shape right now we aren't going to be able to purchase like we'd like to do.
JoAnn: We had some items left over from last year. We'll make sure every child gets something, but it won't be what was on their wish list.
The Star: How does this year compare to previous Angel Tree campaigns?
Joe: We usually run at about a 30 percent deficit where the Salvation Army makes up for it, but this year has run about 50 percent. We're just hoping it will be that or less this year.
The Star: Are donations down in general for the local Salvation Army's red kettle campaign for this holiday season?
Joe: I can't answer that right now. I think we're OK.
The Star: When will you know if it will be necessary to cut any staff or services?
Joe: We will be looking at the hard numbers this week. I've cut everybody's hours at the thrift store because of the lack of income that we're getting. It's either cut hours or start cutting employees.
Ever since we lost our downtown location about two years ago, it's hurt us bad. It's just kind of a snowball effect now.
We just don't get the traffic we had in the store downtown in the Rosenbaum building. Now they've converted to condominiums and brought in some upscale shops, which is certainly important for Meridian, but it just really took its toll on us.
We were averaging about $500 to $600 a day at the downtown location. Now we are down to about half that.
The Star: What would you like to say to the public to get them to help?
Joe: Get involved. Everyone talks about the poverty rate. It's in the paper. We can't fix the problem, possibly. The problem may never get fixed here. It may take several years for the economy to rebound, but we're just talking about some little kid and Christmas. He doesn't know about the economy, or whatever.
JoAnn: Just as people are out shopping for their family members and people on their list that have everything, and kids who have more toys than they need, I would like them to think about buying an extra toy for a kid or an extra outfit.

Franklin County

PHOTOS: NWSCC Phil Campbell campus presents ‘Shrek the Musical’

News

Russellville Main Street welcomes new executive director

News

BTCPA announces final production of season

News

Wynette Grammy finds home at Red Bay Museum

Franklin County

Northwest Shoals receives $1.3M to enhance rural healthcare education

Galleries

PHOTOS: RHS Musical Theatre presents ‘The Wizard of Oz’

Franklin County

Northwest Regional Library announces audiobooks by mail program

Franklin County

Republican primary run-off election for county commission seats takes place April 16

News

Historic Roxy Theatre celebrates 75th Anniversary with upcoming entertainment

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Mark Dunbar

Franklin County

Franklin County makes seven drug trafficking arrests

Galleries

Why Knot car show cruises into downtown Russellville

News

Get free weather radio at VFDs

Franklin County

PCHS FBLA hosts Little Miss Dream Girl Pageant

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Johnnie Pounders

Features

Sam Warf: From Tennessee to the White House and beyond

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Mousey Brown

News

Russellville First Baptist Church receives historical marker

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Meeting a higher standard – Russellville High School JROTC

News

RCS BOE announces new superintendent  

News

Miss Dream Girl Pageant names winners

Franklin County

First Metro Bank hosts FAME Girls’ Ranch donation drive

News

PCHS holds annual Shelby Grissom Memorial Fashion Show

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: VFW Post 5184 – ‘No One Does More For Veterans’

x