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Salvation Army collecting donations in Henry area

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

Despite the slow economy, The Salvation Army is already in the midst of its Christmas fund-raising efforts in Henry.

One of the main ways the organization raises money at the grassroots level is by stationing bell ringers outside area businesses, standing by the familiar red kettles to accept donations.

The ringers began their work at the Kroger supermarkets in McDonough and Stockbridge Nov. 21, and at Sams Club in McDonough Nov. 25.

They are expected to begin at the Belk in McDonough and the Wal-Mart stores in Henry County today.

Doug McClure, director of the Army's Henry County chapter, said he is not sure how much money will be raised this holiday season.

"Nobody knows for sure how [the economy] is going to affect us," said McClure. "The need is greater. People don't have the money to do what they did before."

Last year, the Army raised about $9,000 to $10,000 in Henry County to help 50 families buy toys for children, and provide food for needy families.

This year, plans are to help just as many. "We're hoping to do the same amount and try to make it stretch further," he added.

In addition to individual bell ringers, the Salvation Army also uses the services of church volunteers, Boy Scouts and civic organizations interested in helping out during the holiday season.