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Massena Salvation Army provides Christmas for 107 children

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MASSENA — More than 100 children were helped through this year’s Salvation Army Christmas program.

“We provided 107 children with gifts. That includes a main wish gift and a few small gifts,” Lt. Cynthia L. Crowsen said.

The small gifts included items such as books, coloring books and stuffed animals, an outfit in the child’s size and perhaps a winter coat, she said.

The gifts were provided for children 12 and younger, Lt. Crowsen said.

The Salvation Army also helped families with meals during the holidays, she said.

“For individuals up to families with children, we had 89 families that received meals,” she said.

Meals aren’t just a Christmas dinner either, according to the commander; the agency also provides families with something for breakfast and lunch on Christmas.

“We know all the grocery stores are closed on Christmas Day so employees can enjoy Christmas with their families,” Lt. Crowsen said.

Families that received the dinner knew they would have a ham, turkey or chicken, depending on the size of the family.

One of the auction items during the recent radiothon and toy drive was chicken or turkey, and she said the person who won the chickens donated them back to the Salvation Army to use in Christmas meals.

“That helped immensely. That provided 10 chickens for families that we didn’t have to purchase,” she said.

It also provided less stress for the family.

“They didn’t have to worry about going and paying for it at the store,” Lt. Crowsen said.

A school class also made quickbreads to add to the baskets.

“That became the desserts for several of the Christmas baskets,” she said.

People who received assistance were appreciative of the Salvation Army’s efforts, she said.

“We noticed that many families were very grateful and pleased with the things they received. They were excited that they didn’t have to worry about what Christmas was going to be like. They knew they had toys to put under the tree and warm weather wear so they didn’t have to wear sweat shirts to school,” Lt. Crowsen said.

The effort went smoothly, she said, with families coming in with the paperwork and identification and volunteers working with them to help make a better Christmas.

The Salvation Army’s efforts are boosted by its Red Kettle Drive, although it didn’t meet its goal this year.

“We know we’re down. We had approximately half the kettle stands and we reached approximately half the kettle goal. If we had the stands, we would have met it. We know the community gave what they could and we’re very grateful for the donations. Over the last several days, they reached deeper for the last bit of change. Every little bit helps,” Lt. Crowsen said.

The campaign may be over for the year, but people can still make donations either through the mail or at the Salvation Army’s office.

“We’ll gladly accept any donations,” she said.

The offices are closed until Wednesday, but the agency is still providing assistance even after Christmas thanks to donations.

“We’ve already helped some clients who need food to help them get through the week we’re closed,” Lt. Crowsen said.

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