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Blending of Salvation Army units termed a success

| Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, 12:02 a.m.
Connellsville High School seniors Ashley Shultz (left) and Taylor Childs helped ring the bells for the Salvation Army annual holiday donation drive. The familiar red donation kettles were seen this year at each entrance of many local Wamart stores.The Salvation Army director for the Scottdale / Connellsville areas Mary McKnight believes this year's kettle drive was a success. Lori C. Padilla/For the Daily Courier

Despite opening a new office right before the Christmas season, the Salvation Army director for the Scottdale / Connellsville areas said she feels good about their kettle drive this past year.

Director Mary McKnight said one of the biggest challenges with the kettle drive was opening an office that had several phone and cable glitches during the first couple of weeks.

“We had to be patient until we got the office up and fully running and then right away we had to start sign-ups for those individuals who were in need for Christmas,” she said. “On top of that, we had to begin the process of looking for volunteers for our kettle drive.”

McKnight, of Scottdale, was also facing a big learning curve, getting used to the Connellsville area, where the new office is located at 300 W. Crawford Ave.

“But we got the volunteers we needed and we had a kettle chairperson for both the Scottdale and the Connellsville areas,” she said. “Every day there is a different challenge, but I'm up for the challenge — I'm excited to get ready for next Christmas.”

McKnight said she is not sure exactly what is on the agenda for the Salvation Army in the upcoming months.

An advisory board meeting was held in November; another is planned this month.

“I'm not sure what the board's vision is yet,” McKnight said. “It's still a brand new advisory board.”

She said she can't thank people enough for the outpouring of support she's had in the past few months.

“I'm so overjoyed with how things worked out,” McKnight said. “The blending of the two communities was a success.”

It will be a few more weeks before McKnight has any final figures on what was brought in during the kettle drive.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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