Those who give generously of their time, energy and money to the Alexandria Corps of the Salvation Army were honored at a donor appreciation reception last Thursday to say thank you and kick off the organization's holiday activities.
Held at the home of Windsor DeMaine in Old Town Alexandria, the event featured a presentation of the Salvation Army's mission and efforts through its myriad programs followed by personal thank yous to donors from Major Tony Barrington, corps officer, The Salvation Army, Alexandria Citadel Corps, and Jack Gray, Jr., chairman, Salvation Army Advisory Board.
"We have these events just to say thank you to our donors. I am appreciative of your service everyday. We have a wonderful Salvation Army here and we provide a wide variety of services from our shelters to transitional housing programs," Barrington said.
"Those of us here have the privilege and pleasure of giving our support as you give your support to so many others. And, it all comes together when people put their donations into the kettles," Gray said.
"It's a great organization. [The Salvation Army members] are the most unselfish people I have ever known," Gray said.
DeMaine recounted how he was made aware of the Salvation Army's selflessness following the Oklahoma City bombing. "When representatives from all the other organizations were taking advantage of a photo opportunity with the President, there were no representatives of The Salvation Army present. That was because they were still doing their job helping others. They weren't interested in the publicity," he said.
"During the Sept. 11 events at the Pentagon, the Salvation Army served one million meals. That's a major effort," DeMaine said. "There are many groups seeking financial support and you have to decide where to put your money to have the greatest benefit."
He cited, as a case in point, the struggles of a young woman who had fallen on hard times and found herself living in a shelter. Helped by The Salvation Army, she was able to recover from poverty and go on to a successful career. "That was Sinatra Jackson, vice president, IBM Corporation," he said.
Alexandria holiday "bell ringing starts this week," according to Barrington. "We will be doing it through the holidays throughout the area," he said.
THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY of the Army's "Angel Tree Program and Kettle Kick-off" is scheduled for Nov. 27 at 11 a.m. in the Springfield Mall. It will include the Corps band for entertainment.
Both a Christian and charity organization, The Salvation Army, which started in London in the 1800's, now operates in 100 countries around the world providing support to needy families and individuals. It is represented in every zip code in the United States, according to Barrington.
"In Alexandria alone we will be distributing Christmas gifts and food to nearly 800 families and 1,500 children," he said. Barrington noted there were more than 300 bicycles alone being prepared as Christmas gifts in the organization's building on North Saint Asaph Street.