Tables of toys, rows of bicycles, mountains of clothes and hundreds of grocery bags filled the Salvation Army’s Center of Hope in New Albany Saturday morning as thousands of local families in need gathered items to make their otherwise dismal holidays much merrier.
The Salvation Army — with the help of several local organizations — provided Christmas dinners for about 1,200 families and gifts for 4,475 angels on the Salvation Army Angel Tree, according to Roxanne Haley, the local Salvation Army’s Business Administrator. The Center of Hope reaches out to six counties in Southern Indiana.
Although John Peyton does enjoy watching his grandchildren open their presents on Christmas day, he admits distribution day at the Salvation Army is his favorite day of the year. A retired Master Sergeant with the United States Marine Corp, Peyton has been volunteering with Toys for Tots for seven years.
This year, the local chapter of Toys for Tots has collected nearly 14,000 toys for needy children in the area, ensuring that all angels on the Salvation Army Angel Tree have gifts to unwrap Christmas morning.
“We want to give that child a toy and let that child know that someone cares,” said Peyton. “Kids light up like little Christmas trees when they walk in.”
The Southern Hoosier Hills chapter of the National Turkey Federation provided 235 families with frozen turkeys for their Christmas dinners. The organization works closely with the Salvation Army and the New Albany Housing Authority to determine need. Kroger provides the hunters — who donate their own money to the project — with a generous discount for the turkeys.
John Moody, Chairperson of Turkey Hunters Care, said this year has been the worst yet in terms of need. In response to the great increase of families in need of a warm meal, Moody said the group plans to expand and help provide meals to families on a weekly basis at local churches.
“It gives you a good feeling,” said Ron Synder, President of the Southern Hoosier Hills chapter. “If it wasn’t for the hunters, there wouldn’t be any turkeys. There are so many families out there that don’t know where their next meal is coming from and now they know where at least one meal is coming from.”
“It’s amazing to me how much is donated,” said Tony Lee, who has volunteered for three years. “It takes a lot of people to bring this together.”
Capt. David Sparks, of the New Albany Fire Department, has been actively volunteering with the Salvation Army since he was fifteen years old. Capt. Sparks and other volunteers with the fire department worked together on what he calls a “year-round project” to provide local children with bicycles. This year, the fire department donated about 450 bicycles to children in need.
“To see a parent bring their kid here and see the smile on the kid’s face makes it all worth it,” said Capt. Sparks.
“I like to help give everyone Christmas,” said 16-year-old Jerry McCormick, who has volunteered with the Salvation Army for several years.
Chief Meteorologist of WAVE 3’s Storm Center Weather Team, John Belski served as a personal shopper as he helped families gather their toys and clothes from the Salvation Army Angel Tree. Belski has worked with the Angel Tree for several years now, but said it’s difficult to realize everything involved until the distribution date.
“It’s great to be part of a team effort to help so many people,” said Belski.
A self-proclaimed snow lover, Belski also said he’s still crossing his fingers for a white Christmas.
- Floyd County
- Pilot for pre-kindergarten funding may win approval
- A WELCOMED SIGHT: Survivor of fire that killed siblings, Taty’ana Hughes, returns home
Revelers and runners to come together Tuesday
It’s coming a bit earlier than the actual St. Patrick’s Day holiday, but runners and drinkers will be celebrating Tuesday, March 11, in Jeffersonville.
Civil engineer added to Gahan’s staff
New Albany has a full-time city engineer.
Larry Summers — an engineer who has represented Louisville in the public sector and firms such as Presnell Design Group in the private domain — has accepted the position.
- BRIDGING THE FUTURE: Examining the Ohio River Bridges Project impact on New Albany
New Albany to battle Home Depot, Meijer tax appeal
A state board will decide in May if The Home Depot and Meijer’s property tax assessments in New Albany are too much, as city and Floyd County officials are prepared to fight the appeal.
Public may donate, participate at Hope Southern Indiana
New board members, a matching grant, and an ongoing lineup of activities and services for the community headline news from Hope Southern Indiana, the Christ-focused ministry serving the whole community and based in New Albany.
Lane restrictions on I-65 begin Sunday
Lane restrictions along Interstate 65 south of Seymour will begin 6 p.m. Sunday, March 9.
- 6 P.M. UPDATE: Southern Indiana couples want equal rights in same-sex suit
- Mom & Pop's in New Albany to open for 29th year
- More Floyd County Headlines