TAYLOR COUNTY—Halloween has come and gone, and now local organizations will begin to shift their focus to the upcoming holiday season. One local organization will be hosting a special meeting to help usher in the Christmas spirit to the county.
The Grafton Salvation Army will be hosting an open-air meeting on Saturday, Nov 7, at 2:30 p.m., on the grounds of the International Mother’s Day Shrine.
“The first sounds of Christmas will be heard during our meeting, to help get residents in the Christmas spirit,” said Salvation Army Captain Denise “Dee” Stewart. “Music will be provided by one of our Salvation Army Divisional Bands and will include many of the most popular holiday songs, and we will also be offering devotions.”
Stewart shared that guests may attend the meeting in person but are asked to please wear face masks or socially distance, as the community still fights to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“For those who are not comfortable taking part in the meeting, we encourage them to park nearby so that they can still hear the music and devotions,” she added. “Come out, be safe and have a great time!”
In addition, the charitable organization has begun taking applications for their annual Angel Tree program, which helps provide gifts to children each holiday season.
Stewart shared that the program offers children in Taylor, Barbour and Randolph Counties the joy of opening presents on Christmas day.
“Last year, we served hundreds of children in the three counties,” Stewart shared. “Knowing that we helped make their holidays a little brighter is the joy that we need to know the program is worthwhile.”
Typically, the organization begins receiving applications as early as August, but because of the current pandemic, things have been modified slightly.
“We had to limit exposure of both our staff and the community, so we will be handling the application process a bit differently this year,” Stewart revealed. “And because the need seems so much great this year, we are trying to help as much as possible.”
Applications are now being taken over the phone, or for those who wish to still register in person, the organization is offering appointments.
In order to apply for the Angel Tree Program, families must fall within certain guidelines.
“A good amount of people in the area would qualify for the program,” Stewart disclosed. “Instead of just basing qualifications off of income, we look at income versus expenses. So, our program is not necessarily based on how much money someone makes.”
When calling in, or applying in person, families are asked to know their child’s name, age, clothing/shoe size and three items on their wish list, as well as the family’s income and debt amounts.
The program is available to children ages newborn to 12 years of age.
“The idea behind the Angel Tree Program is not to necessarily provide an entire Christmas for the children, but to assist families in making sure children who still believe have something to keep the Christmas magic alive,” Stewart commented.
Trees will be set up in various locations around town featuring the angels, including the Mountain Statesman, Espresso Yourself Coffee House and possibly Grafton Walmart, for residents to make their selections and purchase gifts for participants.
For more information on the program, along with the guidelines, please contact the Grafton Salvation Army at 304-265-3565 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.