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Madison women chair ‘high-rise’ donations for The Salvation Army

Residents in 'high-rise' housing in Madison and Huntsville receive $15 gift cards from The Salvation Army Christmas program. Most program coordinators are Madison residents. (CONTRIBUTED)
Residents in ‘high-rise’ housing in Madison and Huntsville receive $15 gift cards from The Salvation Army Christmas program. Most program coordinators are Madison residents. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Madison women are coordinating a little-known yet big-hearted effort for The Salvation Army.

Caseworker Judy Mason administers The Salvation Army Christmas Program. ‘High-rise’ residents receive a $15 gift card, redeemable at grocery stores.

The program especially helps “seniors with limited income and families that don’t always help. Any resident qualifies who feel they have a need. They (often) go without food to pay bills. This helps them in a small way,” Mason said.

In 2006, Debbie Overcash of Madison started volunteering for this program. She is incoming chairman of The Salvation Army Advisory Board.

“As  volunteer coordinator, I’ve been proud that most high-rise chairmen are Madison residents,” Overcash said. “These caring individuals understand the importance of giving back, not only during the holiday season. They offer unfailing generosity year-round.”

Chairmen are Beth Mumaw, Seventh-Day Adventist; Amy Moore and Traci Breland, Dublin Village; Pat Cross and Karen Morris, Presbyterian Apartments; Debbie Hoover, Willow Run; Sally Warden, Todd Towers; Debbie Overcash, Johnson Towers; Debbie Overcash and Karen Morris, Valley Gardens; Marie Newberry and Donna Shergy, Huntsville Summit; and Kay Lowry, Russell Erskine.

Dublin Village is the only site in Madison. All women are Madison residents, except Shergy and Lowry of Huntsville.

Each year, high-rise residents highly anticipate the gift. “Our chairmen have made wonderful and lasting friendships with the residents. When I’m tempted to feel a bit overwhelmed during the holidays, I remember my first outing helping out,” Overcash said.

That first year, Overcash had registered residents all day. “One precious elderly man using a walker had been one of my first to register. Two hours later, I looked up and he was back in the line.”

When the line reached Overcash, she said, “I think we met earlier?” The man agreed; he had forgotten to thank Overcash. “After standing in line twice, he took my hand and put in two slightly melted Hershey Kisses … and thanked me.”

“That gentle, precious soul’s act of pure kindness has helped me to remember what Christmas is all about,” Overcash said.

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