The Salvation Army has declared Turkey Drive 2003 a success.
Officials have announced that they have exceeded their goal of 1,200 turkeys. The turkeys will be distributed to more than 500 Valley families on Dec. 22.
"We have turkeys to go around, so there are going to be plenty of happy families on Christmas morning, at least eating turkey," said Major Samuel Van Denberg of the Salvation Army.
The 1,200-turkey goal was the highest mark the Salvation Army had ever set for its annual drive. But Van Denberg says he was confident the goal wasn't too ambitious.
"Well, with the economy, we were kind of concerned that 12 hundred was going to be pushing it a little bit," he said. "But we felt that that's what we needed, and we also felt that that's what we were gonna be able to come up with."
"It's a really good feeling, knowing that the community's been able to come through," Van Denberg added. "We know it's been a hard year for a lot of our Valley residents, but they were able to come through, and we do thank them very much."
And despite already reaching the goal, the Salvation Army is still accepting turkeys. They are being collected at Sheetz locations and the Salvation Army centers in Harrisonburg and Staunton.
The drive ends on Monday.
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The Salvation Army Mission Statement
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
The History of the Salvation Army in the South
The Salvation Army in the United States is divided into four territories. The administrative center of the Southern Territory is in Atlanta, Georgia. The USA Southern Territory comprises 15 southern states and is divided into nine divisions.
Source: http://www.salvationarmysouth.org/about.htm (The Salvation Army Web site) contributed to this report.