Salvation Army makes a big difference in Sevierville’s Christmas season.

With all the symbolism that comes with the Christmas season, it can be argued that few carry as much weight and touch as many people as the Salvation Army. That’s especially true in Sevierville and has been for years.

Fill the Truck for Local Kids is a nation-wide program, but all clothing and toys gathered at the Sevierville Walmart will go to Sevier County children.

“The important thing is the toys stay in Sevier County,” said officials with the local chapter of the Salvation Army.

Along with Fill the Truck, The Salvation Army is currently accepting donations with its annual Red Kettle Campaign, where volunteers ring bells outside 18 area stores to encourage shoppers to drop donations into their red kettles.

The campaign, which began around Thanksgiving and will end Christmas Eve, is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and has been since it was created 122 years ago.

Another holiday program The Salvation Army sponsors is the Angel Tree Program, where the organization identifies families in need and sets them up with sponsors to provide gifts, primarily clothes, for the angel of the family — a child of 12 years or younger.

Fill the Truck is designed to supplement the Angel Tree Program. The wish is to provide sponsors for 750 angels this year.

“We would love for people to sponsor angels, and if they have two hours to spare, give us a call to ring some bells,” said officials. “Again, the money stays in the county.”

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