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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2016:11:07 15:39:24

Salvation Army bell ringer donation pot. Michael J. Mullen / Staff Photographer

While most of us associate the Christmas season with gatherings of family and friends, there are many whose holidays are crushed by the harsh realities of simply making ends meet. This holiday season, The Salvation Army East Stroudsburg Corps will labor to bring hope to hundreds local families who desperately need a helping hand.

Gilbert Parkhurst, commanding officer in East Stroudsburg said, “The Salvation Army will provide food, clothing and emergency assistance to people in real need in our community at Christmastime, as we’ve done for more than 150 years in America. We need to raise $150,000 to accomplish this and will launch our 2018 campaign with our Red Kettle Kickoff breakfast on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 8 a.m. at Stroudsmoor Country Inn.”

Major Parkhurst will be on hand, as well as the ESU cheerleaders, ESU Songsters and Tom Ricabono will provide music.

The Kettle Kickoff breakfast is open to individuals and businesses with a format that creates teams by table whereby attendees make donations into their Kettle with the table with the largest donation receiving the Red Kettle Award. The team with the highest giving for the event gets its name engraved on the award and keeps it to display in their business or organization for a year.

Tables for the one-hour event are $176 for eight which includes an all you can eat buffet breakfast, music, a brief program and the opportunity to give back to the community while launching the 2018 Red Kettle Campaign.

“Traditionally, the Salvation Army’s bell ringers through our Red Kettle Christmas Campaign generate a large percent of the community-wide support needed for our feeding and sheltering programs,” Parkhurst said. “Three years ago, we introduced the Red Kettle Kickoff Breakfast to raise awareness and reach out into the community because of the impact of online holiday shopping on visitation to stores. While our monies have declined for a variety of reasons including the closing of locations, our requests for assistance continue to be on the rise.”

The majority of the Salvation Army’s local programs, such as food baskets, hot meals, nights of shelter, rental assistance, clothing, Christmas toys for children, nursing home visitation and disaster service response rely directly on community support and giving.

“We are more determined than ever to help our neighbors bridge the gap between their resources and the cost of acquiring basic human needs,” Parkhurst said. “For that, we are asking friends and neighbors for help in the form of cash donations to the Kettle campaign. They can do so by attending an event, putting money in our Kettles or donating online at our website. Your donations stay in Monroe County to directly help those less fortunate in our community with food, toys for their children and shelter. As our list of families in need during the holiday season continues to grow exponentially, so does our need for the community to open their hearts and wallets to giving.”

For information about the Salvation Army’s programs, to request a Kettle to be placed at your business, reserve a table for the Red Kettle Breakfast or to volunteer to be a ringer, call 570-421-3050.