The Army Salvation Army is about to enter one of its busiest times of year, and it will need some help from the community whether its donation of materials or time.

The nonprofit will accept Christmas assistance applications in the first week of October and the Salvation Army Angel Trees will be up by early November. The bells will also start ringing at the kettle collections on Nov. 22.

“As we plan for our Christmas celebrations, we as a community need to remember that there are those who are less fortunate,” said Salvation Army Maj. Angela Repass. “We are relying upon the wonderful Aiken community once again to make sure that everyone in our community has a Merry Christmas.”

Christmas assistance applications

Christmas assistance applications will be collected from Oct. 1 to Oct. 5. Repass said that there are two ways to apply. An applicant can call 803-641-4149 to set up an appointment and avoid waiting in line. Walk-ins will be accepted at 640 Laurens St. on Oct. 1 through Oct. 4 from 3 to 6 p.m. and Oct. 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to fill out an application.

Applicants must bring in a picture ID as well as proof of income and all expenses. A birth certificate for children ages 12 and younger must also be shown. Staff will also need clothing sizes and a list of other items that children wish to get for Christmas, Repass said.

The Christmas assistance program through the Aiken Salvation Army covers Aiken, Allendale, Barnwell and Edgefield counties. The local chapter just took over the Edgefield area this year, and will assist the first 75 families to apply from that county this Christmas season, Repass said.

Beech Island, Belvedere and North Augusta are not included in the Aiken Salvation Army’s service area but are covered by the Augusta chapter, Repass added.

Volunteer opportunities

Repass said that they are in desperate need of canned goods to hand out to families during the holidays. Donations are being accepted now.

Angel Trees will be set up at the Aiken Mall as soon as Nov. 1 and at other locations on Nov. 8. Donations of clothes and toys to help those children who are not sponsored will be accepted, Repass added.

Repass said that they are in need of volunteers to take Christmas assistance applications from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 1 through Oct 4 from those who have set up an appointment. Anyone interested in helping can call 803-641-4141.

A community Thanksgiving dinner will also be held on Nov. 27 and Repass said anyone willing to help during that event can call 803-641-4149.

For more information about the Salvation Army and volunteer opportunities, visit the Salvation Army of Aiken’s Facebook page.

Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010.