Army prepares gifts for hundreds

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 20, 1999

People of all ages volunteered to help sort the gifts and prepare them for pickup today.

“It truly is a community effort,” said Lt. Bobby Westmoreland.

This year, the army is giving out about 500 stockings filled with candy and 500 Christmas food baskets that will each include a blanket.

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It will also provide food to about 200 senior citizens. Around 500 children will receive gifts as part of the Army’s Angel Tree program.

Each year, members of the community adopt the “angels.” The Salvation Army then buys gifts for the children who are not adopted.

This year, the response to the Angel Tree program was was tremendous.

“It was a record year for the angel tree,” Westmoreland said.

The army only has to buy gifts for about 50 children. That number has run as high as several hundred in past years, Westmoreland said.

“Most of (the children) got adopted and most of the gifts came back,” said Alma Timmons, of the Salvation Army. “It’s better than last years.

The number of children to be served this year also dropped by about a 100, she added. The success of the Angel-Tree program is due in part to the support of employees at the Lady Luck Casino Natchez.

Lady Luck adopted over 100 of the Salvation Army Children. The army provided Lady Luck with the names of children for its tree.

“We even ran out of names,” said Sue Goss of Lady Luck.

So, the casino got more names to add to its list.

“It turned out really nice,”&160;Goss said. “Everybody felt good about doing it.”