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Each year, the homeowners of this haunt, located at Pinetree Drive and Terry Street in Plymouth Township, turn their front yard into a Halloween haven.  I think the pictures say it all.

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I received this email from the Salvation Army’s Plymouth Corps.  Plymouth area volunteers should be proud of their accomplishments during this Red Kettle Campaign

Dear Friends:

We here at The Salvation Army – Plymouth Corps want to offer a warm and heart felt thank you to everyone who donated their time, talents and monies to help support our 2009 Thanksgiving and Christmas programs.

We have over 1,100 volunteers in the Plymouth Corps Volunteer First data base and it is through our volunteers’ commitment to The Salvation Army that we successfully completed another blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

We wanted to share with you an update on the current status of our fund raising campaign and holiday assistance given to those in need.

The overall Christmas fund raising goal is $315,000. We have received $272,069, or 86% of the goal to date. We will wrap up the fund raising campaign at the end of January 2010. With your help, $212,104 was collected in the Red Kettles; additionally, we have received $59,965 in cash or check donations at our Corps office in Plymouth.

Just to share some seasonal stats:
Our Christmas Toy Towne assisted 354 families which included 1,215 children.
Our Christmas Food for Seniors & Singles assisted 29 families.
Our Thanksgiving food distribution assisted 358 families including 1,268 children.
Our Coats 4 Kids assisted 130 families including 296 children.
Our Back 2 School Blitz assisted 140 families including 307 children.

And to recap our volunteered hours:
Our Thanksgiving programs:
17 volunteers packed boxes for a total of 42.50 hours
42 volunteers assisted with the distribution for a total of 91 hours

Our Christmas programs:
Toy Towne Preparation 99 volunteers with a total of 594 hours
Toy Towne Distribution 213 volunteers with a total of 1,491 hours
Christmas Application Processing 7 volunteers with a total of 60 hours.

Additional Front Desk coverage 9 volunteers with a total of 145 hours.
Food Pantry Assistance 8 volunteers with a total of 20 hours.

And let us not forget those brave and hearty individuals, who stood in the cold, rain and snow to ring bells during the Red Kettle Campaign.

Once again, our community is blessed with wonderful volunteers!! Thank you for stepping up to help those in need. Without your continued support, we would have never been able to assist the many families and individuals during this past holiday season.

Have a Blessed and Happy 2010
Sincerely,

The Plymouth Corp Staff
The Salvation Army – Plymouth Corps


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According to an article in the January 8, 2009, Plymouth Observer (“Kettle drive soars past 2008 goal), the local Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle drive raised more than the goal set and exceeded 2007’s donations.

Our local Salvation Army, which serves the Plymouths, the Northvilles, Canton and Belleville, set a pre campaign goal for 2008 of $235,000.  Frankly, given the difficult economic times we are in, Salvo officials didn’t expect to meet the goal.  Instead, they blew past it!  2008 kettle donations were over $244,000!

I did one “shift” as a bell ringer at the Ann Arbor Road/Sheldon Kroger and I noticed a lot of shoppers donating bills.  In my past experience, most givers leave pocket change, but this last time I noticed a lot of cash donations.  My experience is exactly what the Plymouth area Salvation Army found generally.  According to Major Jim Irvine (as quoted in the Plymouth Observer article):

We had people who knew we were hurting, and they came out nonstop to ring the bells,” Irvine said. “It was people passing the kettles who knew their families were hurting. We didn’t get any single big-check donations, as we’ve had in the past. It was all the one-dollar, five-dollar and 10-dollar donations people were putting in that made all the difference.

http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20090108/NEWS15/901080671/1032

I’m really impressed that goals were exceeded in such hard times.  Maybe hard times simply bring out the best in people.

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As I said in an earlier post, I did Salvation Army bell ringing at the Kroger in Plymouth Twp. last night.  What stood out was truly how generous people can be, especially in these tough times.

All we hear about on the news these days are the economy (nothing but bad news) and bailouts.  In this area, hundreds of thousands of people are on pins and needles over the possible (and soon) collapse of General Motors and Chrysler.  The Metro-Detroit area is already in much worse shape than the rest of the country and any automotive industry collapse would put our area in a Great Depression-like state.

I talked to one man last night who had a job at one of the factories right here in town.  He hasn’t worked for over a year since that business cut its staff down to a “skeleton crew.”  He lost his rental property and has been forced to move in with his elderly mother until he can find employment that pays well enough to allow him to live on his own.

Even with all that, he put cash in the red kettle.   During my shift, there were probably roughly 100 donors and the overwhelming majority of them gave cash.   Very few folks gave change.  I saw lots of $5 bills and multiple bill donations go in the kettle.  Trust me, I’m not judging the value of one person’s gift over another.  Cash. Change. It’s all good.  The point is that it seemed like most folks were pretty generous in their giving.

It made me feel good.  I was pleased to see that even when things are bad, many people are still willing to give their money to help complete strangers.  I don’t know how many shoppers I encountered were from Plymouth, but I think it’s a smart bet that most of them were from here since that is probably the closest major grocery store to the City and much of the township.

So, cheers to the great people of Plymouth (and Canton, Westland, Northville, Livonia, etc.) for your generosity and giving spirit.

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I received an email last night indicating that the Veteran’s Memorial Park Committee has agreed to give the Plymouth Preservation Network the time/opportunity to raise the funds necessary to repair the existing wall.  This is good news for those of us who believe the historical wall should be repaired, not replaced.  Here is the substance of the email, with information about how you can help:

I have great news! The veterans have agreed to allow our group some
time to fund raise. They would like us to set a deadline for when we
think we will have at least 50% of the money raised. They would also
like to have a detailed plan of work that the stone mason will be
performing to the wall.

We are currently in the process of obtaining two other bids from
stone masons (the one we already have is for $18,000). Our group also feels that some sort of historical marker should be created to let people know about the history of the wall.

I did a little quick math and figured out that if every house hold in the city and township donated just $1.25, we would have enough money to repair the wall. We realize that in these difficult economic
times families are having to choose between putting food on the table and paying the heating bill. So it will not be possible for every house hold to donate money, even just $1.25. If there are people who
want to help, but are not in a position to donate money, we would encourage them to volunteer their time. Time is just as valuable as money. We will need help with planning at least one major fund raiser
for this project.

If you would like to get involved with saving the wall, please plan to attend our next meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 18th, 7pm at the historical museum on Main Street. We will be discussing a time line and plan for fundraising.

If people wish to donate money, please make checks payable to Plymouth Preservation Network and mail to:

Plymouth Preservation Network
P.O. Box #6137
Plymouth, MI 48170

This would be a huge task for one person, but as a community working
together, I think it is a goal we can achieve!

Thanks for spreading the word!

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