Biloxi Salvation Army Trying To Publicize Christmas Assistance Program

Every year, some south Mississippi families need help putting presents under their Christmas trees, but many times, that help doesn't come in time. The Salvation Army takes applications for its Christmas Assistance Program. Staff members at the Biloxi Branch say they've gotten complaints from people who say they aren't getting the information until after the deadline has past.

When Karen Mayfield went to the Biloxi Salvation Army put in her application for the Christmas Assistance Program on Wednesday morning, her wait was surprisingly short.

"Last year when I came there was a line, but this year when I came here there was about 10 people ahead of me," said Mayfield.

Mayfield says news of the program is often slow to travel to families who need the help. She has her own way not missing the deadline. She calls.

"I wouldn't know," she said. "So when I call and found out, I called my mom and they called my sister and let everybody know. We spread the word like that."

Spreading the word about Christmas Assistance Program is part of Alma Dewey's job. Over the years, she says she's gotten complaints from people who say the Salvation Army doesn't do enough publicity. So this year Dewey is faxing organizations, churches, and the media earlier than usual.

"We can't reach everybody, but if they would turn on the news or listen to the radio, they would know," said Dewey.

The hope is that increasing awareness will bring a nicer Christmas for the children of Biloxi and D'Iberville. Even if that means spending more time in line.

"I'd rather wait than miss out, you know. So it's worth the wait," said Mayfield.

If you live in Biloxi or D'Iberville and would like to register for this Christmas Assistance Program, it's not too late. The Biloxi Salvation Army will take applications Thursday, October 2 from 9 until 11:30. The next registration dates run October 7th, 8th and 9th.

To find out what documentation you'll need call the Salvation Army at 374-8301. Captain Geraldine Martin says the Biloxi Salvation Army provided gifts to 2,000 children last year.