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Nonprofit readying for holidays
With two weeks left before the kickoff of its annual Christmas campaigns, the Salvation Army of Brunswick is getting busy.

Beginning Nov. 9, Angel Trees will be set up at Glynn Place Mall and the familiar jingling of the bells and red kettles on tripods will be heard at more than 18 locations throughout the Golden Isles.

For Capt. Scott Lyles of the Brunswick post of the Salvation Army, it will be an active time.

"We're busy gearing up for these (programs) and getting busy," Lyles said.

The hope is that he and the local office will see an influx of toys.

This year's Angel Tree Program will serve 1,075 children in the community.

"That's consistent. It's a little down from last year, but right around where we were in 2010," Lyles said.

Most of the families and children in the program have already been adopted by community organizations and groups.

But around 200 children remain, and their Christmas lists will be on display at Glynn Place Mall.

Each angel on the tree for adoption will include gift ideas for children aged from infancy to 12 from needy families.

"The 11- and 12-year-olds sometimes are hard to get adopted," Lyles said. "Sometimes people just want to get babies and toddlers."

The older kids need clothes, especially jackets in the winter months. But sometimes fun gifts are requested, too.

"They usually want games and music or MP3 players," Lyles said. "The boys will want basketballs, footballs. The girls want make up and jewelry."

Time will be of the essence when the trees go up.

"We want to get the gifts back by Dec. 8," Lyles said. "We want to be able to give the families time to receive them and wrap them before Christmas."

While Lyles hopes the community comes out to support local families during Christmas, he also hopes the ringing of the bells will encourage people to open their hearts when the red kettles go on display.

"All of the funds raised by the red kettle drive stay in Brunswick," Lyles said. "They fund our shelter, our social services, our meal kitchen."

The Salvation Army fell short of its $85,000 goal in 2011. Lyles hopes they'll meet the goal of $80,000 this year.

"We want to get more kettles out than last year," Lyles said. "We want to be able to raise more. Last year we raised less, but we also cut our expenses, so it worked out."

More kettle locations need more volunteers, Lyles said.

"We ring six days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.," Lyles added. "We need people to volunteer. They can call me and I'll schedule them."

The first weekend of bell ringing is just to get the community ready for the season.

Bell ringers will be present around town the weekend of Nov. 9 and will be out full-time at all locations beginning Nov. 16.

To volunteer

Those with questions or who wish to adopt a child from the Angel Tree or sign up for a time to ring bells can call the administrative office at 265-9381 or visit www.redkettlevolunteer.org.



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