Salvation Army kicks off Tree of Lights Campaign

DECATUR—The Salvation Army is upping the ante this year; their 125th anniversary in Decatur, and the 115th anniversary of the first time they gathered to ring their bells around Decatur. 
During the kickoff event for the 2013 Tree of Lights Campaign, Salvation Army Captain Wes Dalberg and Chairman of the Advisory Board, Gregg Foltz announced several new initiatives this year.  In addition to the regular bell ringers, the Tree of Lights campaign will also include an Angel Tree at the Hickory Point Mall, a Senior Angel Tree at Walmart North, a bell ringing competition between the Sheriff’s office and the Decatur Fire Department, and several chances to donate money to the Salvation Army at their headquarters.
“At the Salvation Army we don’t do hand outs, we consider what we do as hand ups,” Foltz said.  “Times are tough out there, tougher than they have been in several years, but that doesn’t mean we just sit back and watch it happen.  It’s times like these that we step up and help out our fellow neighbors and community members.”
The Tree of Lights campaign starts today with bell ringers starting tomorrow at 10 a.m.  “Our bell ringers will be out at several locations throughout Decatur every day except Sunday from now until December 24th,” Director of development Dave MacDonna says.  “We still have several spots open if you’re interested in coming out to bell ring, just come on in and sign up.”  In addition to volunteer bell ringers, on December 6th the Decatur Association of Realtors will be volunteering their time to ring at every spot for the entire day.  On December 13th and 14th, the various police agencies and fire departments throughout the county will be participating in the 5th annual Guns and Hoses competition, “It’s an honor to be able to participate in this event every year, it’s a healthy competition between us and the fire department every year and the best part about it is, there really is no loser,” Lt Barry Buttz said.
In addition to the bell ringer donation opportunities, the Salvation Army will also be taking donations in the form of Christmas gifts for children in need, “We are bringing back the Angel Tree again this year at Hickory Point Mall.  The tree will have several paper angels hanging from it and to donate all you need to do is take an angel from the tree, buy the child a gift, and return them to under the tree and we will make sure that it gets to the child that it’s intended for,” Dalberg said.  The Senior Angel Tree will also be back this year at Walmart north (On rt. 51 near Forsyth).  The senior tree will work much like the regular Angel Tree, you take a paper angel and purchase a recommended gift that is labeled on the back of it.
The Salvation Army also upped their fundraising goal this year to $390,000.  Donations can be dropped off in the form of check or cash and can be dropped into a kettle, dropped off at the Salvation Army office, or mailed to them.  You can also make a donation through