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Salvation Army sets Western Pennsylvania goals for familiar fundraiser

| Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 3:57 a.m.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Capt. James Brown of the Salvation Army's Steel Valley Worship and Service Center talks with after-school program participants Evan Coleman and Jesean Wright about the kettle drives that take place during the holiday season.
Capt. Lori Brown of the Salvation Army's Steel Valley center assists after-school program participants Jariah Primus, 7, and Intyce Moran, 11, with homework assignments before activities begin. Jennifer R. Vertulo | Daily News

The Salvation Army's Western Pennsylvania Division has announced its kettle drive goals for this year, and there are many beneficiaries of the annual fundraiser.

Across 26 counties the goal is $2.8 million, up from $2.54 million last year.

Division spokeswoman Virginia Knor said more than 100 kettles are out in Allegheny County, with a goal of $785,000. Steel Valley's (104 E. Ninth Ave., Homestead, 412-461-2460) goal is $75,000, McKeesport's (812 Walnut St., 412-673-6627) is $63,000, and Braddock's goal (300 Holland Ave., 412-271-2407) is $80,000.

Braddock raised $42,119.57 last year. Steel Valley raised $66,630.71, and McKeesport raised $55,468.99.

“It's a little bit of a jump,” Maj. Sean Barton of McKeesport said.

Barton and his wife Andrea were promoted from captains in the summer.

They have 15 years of service, five in McKeesport, which provided holiday food bags to 547 families last year. A big chunk of this year's distribution, 450 bags, will come from Trib Total Media's Operation Santa Claus.

Bottom Dollar Food said Monday it will donate 300 turkeys for holiday dinners at 11 Allegheny County locations.

“We have a passion for helping our communities,” Bottom Dollar Food market operations director Nick Siniscalchi said. “We are pleased to support The Salvation Army.”

Bottom Dollar Food has a store in McKeesport and plans another in Homestead.

“A lot of our worship and service centers were going to cancel their dinners,” Knor said.

Barton said McKeesport was planning a dinner even though a longtime donor no longer could provide turkeys.

Dinners are scheduled Nov. 20 from 6-8 p.m. at Steel Valley, and Nov. 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Braddock and from noon-1 p.m. at McKeesport.

In Homestead, the Salvation Army's Steel Valley Worship and Service Center welcomes youngsters after school. Capts. James and Lori Brown run a program for nearly 20 youngsters at the center. Steel Valley is taking applications for Project Bundle-Up and a Christmas aid program. For details call 412-461-2460.

In Westmoreland County, goals are $80,000 for Greensburg (up from $76,800 last year) and $56,000 for Jeannette (up from $54,787). Irwin's service unit hopes to top the $30,300 it raised last year.

“We have probably a 20 percent increase in demand for services of our Salvation Army,” Barry Williams, the human services secretary at the unit based at The First Presbyterian Church in Irwin, said.

Williams said volunteers will begin ringing bells this weekend at the Giant Eagle in North Huntingdon Square and the Walmart across Route 30.

“Those are the only two locations that permit us to ring,” Williams said. “Giant Eagle has been doing it for about 25 years.”

To volunteer to ring bells, call Amy Henry at 724-875-2781.

Irwin keeps 90 percent of proceeds for needs in Irwin-North Huntingdon Township, Larimer, Ardara and Trafford postal zones. The rest goes to the division. Manor's unit covers North Huntingdon's Westmoreland City area.

“Kohl's provides us with very deep discounts for our Project Bundle-Up,” Williams said. “They also provide a tree for Treasures for Children.”

Others help out with angel trees, including Michelle's Bella Boutique in Irwin; Creative Adventures Learning Center in North Huntingdon; and Suburban Community, New Hope Presbyterian, First United Methodist and Holy Trinity Lutheran churches.

The kettle drive and other holiday fundraisers are separate from the Army's aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy.

It is a balancing act, according to Knor, who said this is probably the third or fourth time in her tenure that disaster relief coincides with the kettle drive.

“We want to be sensitive to the disaster victims,” she said.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media

. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or