Salvation Army showered with gift cards

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Santa came five days early this year for Alexandria-based Salvation Army.

While kettle and other donations such as food and clothing were generally down this year in Alexandria, Commander Ken Argot of the Alexandria Citadel said there were adequate gift donations to meet the needs of about 900 adults, 1,200 children and 70 seniors.

Then on Dec. 20, officials announced that Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores had donated $200,000 in gift cards to the organization for distribution in eight U.S. communities demonstrating a particular need for donations this season.

The gift cards enabled thousands of underprivileged families across the country to purchase toys, clothing, food and other items around the Holidays, said Israel L. Gaither, the Salvation Army’s National Commander.

“We were delighted that Wal-Mart made this extremely generous donation to help families in need this Christmas,” Gaither said. “These cards helped make Christmas a little brighter for those who might otherwise have gone without.”

Wal-Mart donated 500 gift cards totaling $25,000 to local Salvation Army chapters across the country. Gift cards were issued in $50 denominations.  “Wal-Mart takes great pride in being able to help The Salvation Army continue its important work in these communities,” Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation, said in a statement. “From Red Kettles in front of all of our stores across the country to partnerships like this one, we remain committed to giving back.”

The Salvation Army served about 5 million people this Christmas, Gaither said, including several hundred in the Alexandria area.

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