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Connellsville Salvation Army begins kettle drive

| Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010

Christmas bells and red kettles have returned, reminding passersby to share what they can with the less fortunate.

The Connellsville Salvation Army's annual kettle drive has begun, with two kettles staffed by volunteers, one at Connellsville Shop 'n Save and one at Wal-Mart in Dunbar Township. Members of the Connellsville Area High School National Honor Society and local Masons will be ringing the bells.

"They should be out every day until Christmas Eve," said Connie Cricco, Connellsville Service Unit administrative assistant.

All money collected during Connellsville's kettle drive remains in the immediate Connellsville area and will aid local people.

The kettle drive may be the most visible project the Salvation Army sponsors each year, but the service unit helps area residents year-round, and the need continues to grow.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays, the service unit on Fairview Avenue serves free lunch.

"We serve 100 or more meals daily," Cricco said. "It keeps going up and up. We serve anyone. Some people come to socialize and make donations."

The Salvation Army also helps with rent and other immediate needs throughout the year.

More than 300 people came to the annual Thanksgiving dinner.

"I've never seen that many," she said.

Cricco said Christmas food baskets and toys will be distributed Dec. 10 to those who have pre-registered at the Salvation Army on Fairview Avenue.

From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., the baskets, which include $10 Shop 'n Save gift cards, will be distributed. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., baskets and toys will be distributed.

Cricco said 254 families will receive toys and baskets and 217 will receive food baskets only.

An Adopt-a-Family tree in Wal-Mart allowed shoppers to buy specific toys and other needed items.

Individuals and local groups, including the Connellsville Moose and Cindy Ghost took 175 cards total from the tree to provide for families, Cricco said.

St. John's Lutheran Church donated $500 worth of gift cards which Cricco is distributing as needed.

The Fayette County Constables Association donated $200 worth of turkeys, which Cricco gave out just before Thanksgiving.

The Salvation Army will host its annual Christmas dinner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 17. Everyone is welcome.

In addition to its kettle drive, donations are accepted by mailing checks to: Salvation Army, 201 E. Fairview Ave., Connellsville, PA 15425.

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