SAYRE - The Salvation Army advisory board met Monday evening at the corps offices and church at 314 S. Elmer Ave., Sayre. After an opening prayer by Capt. Deb Stedman, much new business was on the take, including the announcing of a free chili dinner this Saturday open to all residents.

Board member John Merrick said that Saturday's free chili dinner will be available starting at 11 a.m. and will last until all the chili is gone.

"We're usually out of food by 2 p.m. when we have our free dinners, so get there early," said Merrick. In addition to chili, guests will receive a drink and bread with the meal. There will also be a bake sale and craft sale, along with some games for the children to partake in.

Board members Debi Adams and Sandy Campbell discussed the upcoming free Thanksgiving dinner, always held the night before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, Nov. 27, at the Church of the Redeemer, 201 S. Wilbur Ave. Sayre. Anyone wishing to donate a frozen (not fresh) turkey is asked to drop it off at the corps Tuesday through Friday as the office is closed Monday. Campbell noted that 15 large turkeys are needed.

Board chairman Joel Clawson noted that much work is taking place to assure that residents understand the sign up process for food baskets and Christmas toys.

"We're again announcing the dates and times for those who need assistance to stop by and formally get all the paper work finished ahead of the actual holiday pickup and distribution dates," said Clawson.

Daytime signups for food baskets and toys for children age birth to 12-years-old will be held starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m. on Oct. 21 through 25 and Nov. 4 through 7, with the food pantry temporarily closed during this time. Applications for toys and food will also be accepted during the evening hours from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 28 and 30, and also Nov. 1 and 8, for those who work and can only sign up after hours.

Adults are reminded that they need to bring a photo ID, birth certificates for all children, proof of residency and proof of income (budget letter, child support, pay stubs, etc.) Proof of expenses (rent, gas, electric bill, etc.) will also be necessary.

Capt. Stedman then explained the distribution dates, which will be Dec. 19 for Christmas food only, Dec. 20 for toys, and Dec. 21 and 22 for walk-ins.

Capt. Stedman again emphasized that parents should not bring any children to the sign up procedure. More information is available at (570) 888-2153.

Jeff Paul, new advisory member, explained that repairs both electrical and plumbing will take place at the headquarters in the coming months, but not inhibit any functions that are planned. Paul is responsible for the new bathroom on the church's first floor.

Campbell then noted that September was a good month for the Food Pantry, Soup Kitchen and Bread Line, with some 1,300 people receiving assistance. The bread line alone came in at 877 served, one of the high turnouts this year. Those who would like to attend and take part in the free breakfast and breadline giveaways are welcome in the lower level of the headquarters starting at 9 a.m. for breakfast and then at 10 a.m. for the bread and pastry giveaway every Tuesday and Friday. Campbell again thanked Sayre Walmart and Tops Markets in Sayre for their continuing generosity.

Also discussed is this year's "Kettle Kickoff," which is slated for Friday, Nov. 22 at the Arnot Mall in Elmira. This festive Christmas season kettle kickoff is an event all members look forward to. The event, which usually features the Salvation Army Band playing Christmas Carols, will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Clawson also noted that free suppers are held the first and third Mondays each month in the lower level kitchen dining area. He welcomes all for sharing and fellowship.

In ending the meeting with a prayer, Capt. Stedman reminded everyone that the Salvation Army is an international movement and an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible, and 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 next meeting is scheduled for the second Monday in November.