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Deadline approaching for Christmas assistance

By Staff
Kim West
With Christmas only 75 days away, the Salvation Army will hold its annual Christmas Assistance Program registration this month for families in need.
The program, which assisted 896 Colbert, Franklin and Lauderdale families in 2007, provides Christmas food and gifts. Registration is only available from Oct. 20 until Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Salvation Army building at 1601 Huntsville Rd. in Florence.
"We don't have registration after Oct. 24, although Toys for Tots does have a late registration," said Sandy Freeman, Salvation Army director of social services. "It is very important that families register during that week."
Donna Corbell, a volunteer with the newly organized Russellville Christmas Mission, said it's important for families to take advantage of the program, especially since Faith Mission Outreach in Russellville closed earlier this year.
"The biggest thing we're trying to promote is letting people be aware that this (Salvation Army) deadline is coming up, and they're very strict on deadlines and qualifications," Corbill said.
Freeman said registered families receive at least one basket filled with supplies for a complete Christmas dinner, along with gifts for their children provided by Angel Tree donors and the Salvation Army's teen store.
"We provide a food basket to all the families that is consistent with a Christmas dinner," she said. "Each basket has turkey breast and gravy, a bag of oranges, corn, cranberry sauce, green beans, candied yams, tea bags, sugar and Kool-Aid for the kids.
"Children ages 12 and under will receive gifts from the Angel Tree at Regency Square Mall. When parents come to pick up the food baskets, they will go through our teen store and pick out a gift for the children ages 13 to 18, and they will receive at least one gift. It just depends on much we have donated – last year we had enough for them to have three gifts."
To register, information for every member of the household is required, including Social Security cards, one other form of identification, phone number, current proof of income or financial assistance and correct clothing sizes for infants and children ages 1-12. Families with teenagers should also provide their Social Security numbers and birthdates, and children are not allowed at the registration.
"It's important we have everyone's information because that way we have an accurate count," Freeman said. "The Christmas baskets are based on the number of people in a household. Households with five people or less will receive one basket, five to nine people will get two baskets and nine or more will be give three baskets."
For more information, call the Salvation Army at (256) 764-443 between 9 a.m. and noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.