July 25, 2014

Elyria
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Sign up today for Not-Forgotten Box

ELYRIA — Area families will another chance today to sign up for The Chronicle-Telegram’s Not-Forgotten Box campaign.

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Signups will be accepted 4 to 7 p.m. at the Elyria Salvation Army on 716 Broad St.

The agency signed up 400 to 500 families during a three-day period last week, according to Salvation Army Maj. Bob Sears.

“I’m sitting here looking at a stack of applications 3 inches deep,” he said.

Although the official hours for the signup are 4 to 7 p.m., officials will stay on the job until all applications have been received.

“It’s going to be a busy night,” Sears said. “We won’t leave until we get this done.”

To qualify for help, households must meet eligibility criteria for income, proof of residency and proof of the number of children living in the household. The agency is already mulling the idea of holding an additional signup day for households without children and older adults.

“That’s what we’re thinking right now, of putting together another day,” Sears said Monday. “We’ll know more after (tonight).”

While the annual campaign focuses on brightening the holidays for struggling families with children, there are others who need help during the holidays just as much but are sometimes overlooked.

“Older people and homes without kids need help just as much as those with children,” Sears said.

Christmas kettle

As the agency is gearing up for the Not-Forgotten Box effort, Salvation Army officials are also making plans for its Nov. 12 Midway Mall kickoff for this year’s Christmas kettle collection.

Sears, who recently assumed his new job as director of the Elyria Salvation Army with his wife, Maj. Alice Sears, hopes to pump some energy and color into the kettle drive kickoff.

“We want to get a nice-sized crowd and hope to get a flash mob organized,” Bob Sears said. “The son of one of our people has gone out and done these routines in the past, and we want to see if we can get some extra excitement going with that.”

The kettle kickoff is set for 10:30 a.m. in the mall’s food court. The event will include speakers, refreshments and a first-day goal of $1,000 for Salvation Army kettles, according to Sears.

“We’ll start ringing the bells that same day,” Sears said.

This year’s kettle collection will use the theme “be a shield,” which plays off the agency’s shield emblem.

“We’re asking folks to be a shield against poverty and illiteracy and other problems that work to keep people from getting back on their feet,” Sears said. “We want to at least get them through the holidays and through their difficulties.”

Salvation Army officials look to expand the number of area locations where bellringers will be stationed this year.

“We hope to be more efficient this year,” Sears said. “We’ve only got this time of year to raise as much money as we can.”

In past years, kettles have gone unmanned for periods due to scheduling problems or other issues.

“We want to maximize hours at every collection point,” Sears said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.