Salvation Army Captain Cantrell

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Capt. Kellie Cantrell and the Salvation Army are accepting new, unwrapped toys this holiday season. 

The Salvation Army and Cornerstone Church are preparing to bring hope and joy to families’ lives during this year’s holiday season.

Ongoing programs include the Angel Tree Christmas campaign; the red kettle event, which begins Nov. 15; and the acceptance of donations of new, unwrapped toys.

CoComelon toys, remote-controlled vehicles and L.O.L. Surprise dolls, along with bicycles, are among the most requested items on children’s Christmas lists this year.

The Salvation Army is working to make their wishes come true.

The Salvation Army is partnering with Cornerstone Church to fill requests at the start of this year’s holiday season.

Salvation Army Capt. Kellie Cantrell said approximately 600 children were assisted last year.

“We did online registration again this year, but we also went to a couple of the schools and did registration as well for the people that may not have had the best Internet service or didn’t have Internet service at all,” she said.

Cantrell said community support has been amazing.

“I have had people reach out to me already about getting some angels to adopt and so forth,” she said.

Registration for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Christmas campaign ended in October, but work continues, including with its hallmark red kettle campaign.

Cantrell is hopeful that the kettle contributions will not be down much.

“We hope not, but that’s always a fear during COVID times because people are out of work and so forth. It does make a difference and changes the dynamic, but we did well last year, and we’re hoping that that continues on this year,” Cantrell said.

Under the Angel Tree program, the first names of children, along with their ages and clothing sizes, are placed on trees throughout the area.

Children up to age 12 in Orangeburg, Bamberg and Calhoun counties are served through the Angel Tree program.

Individuals can call the Salvation Army office at 803-534-6805 or the Salvation Army Family Store at 803-534-0785 to adopt an angel. They can also email Cantrell at kellie.cantrell@uss.salvationarmy.org.

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She said some businesses adopt angels and have their employees buy items for them and bring them back to the business. The Salvation Army stands ready to pick up items from businesses as necessary.

“We have huge support through the businesses and the churches, as well. Cornerstone is our main supporter, but we do have other churches that adopt angels,” Cantrell said.

She said individuals can also make a monetary donation for “Santa’s helpers” to shop for toys and clothes and help with a child’s specific needs.

Donations can be made payable to The Salvation Army and mailed to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 958, Orangeburg, SC 29115.

All angels are expected to be turned into the Salvation Army office by Dec. 13. Angels will be readied for distribution by Dec. 17.

The Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign is gearing up to begin Nov. 15. Cantrell said volunteers are greatly needed to make it a success.

“Volunteers are so important for our campaign. Also, if groups want to volunteer to ring bells and would like to have their kettle in memory or in honor of somebody, we’re looking to do that as well. We would hang a little sign on our kettle stating who they were ringing for,” Cantrell said.

“I just know that there’s so many people who have passed away from COVID-related illnesses and so forth. We just thought it would be a good way for them to do something in memory of someone,” she said.

In addition to volunteers, the Salvation Army also hires people to ring bells during the season, with applications available at the Salvation Army office.

The Salvation Army is also accepting donated toys.

Toy collection boxes will be going out, and if someone needs a box for their business, they can contact the office, Cantrell said. Businesses can get boxes delivered to them, or the Salvation Army can make arrangements to have boxes picked up, she said.

The Salvation Army is requesting new and unwrapped toys, with any used toys to be sent to the Salvation Army’s Family Store.

The Salvation Army also has a need for canned goods to restock its dwindling pantry.

“We definitely can use food items as well. Around this time, our pantry gets very low. So with Thanksgiving coming up, we do need food donations,” Cantrell said.

Participating in the Christmas-giving campaigns is not just work for her and the organization, she said.

“First and foremost, it’s our ministry and our calling. Jesus is at the head of everything that we do. We do this because we love people, and we want to help people and spread the love of God wherever we go,” Cantrell said.

“It’s been hard on everyone not only physically, but mentally. It’s just really perilous times, and we just want to spread hope wherever we can and let people know that they don’t have to be depressed and that there is help for them,” she said.

For more information on how you can help the Salvation Army, call the office at 803-534-6805, stop by the Orangeburg site at 813 Nottingham St. or email Cantrell at kellie.cantrell@uss.salvationarmy.org.

Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD.

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