Virginia Barner (from left), Anna Bess Westerfield and De De Foster inspect the Christmas tree skirt created by Westerfield that will be given as a door prize at the annual Christmas Luncheon and Festival of Tables, sponsored by the Salvation Army Auxiliary from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Great Hall of First United Methodist Church, 200 W. Sixth Ave. (Special to The Commercial)
Scholarships to summer camp, Christmas gifts for senior citizens and playground equipment at the Salvation Army Corps location — these are a few of the projects funded by the Salvation Army Auxiliary through its annual Christmas Luncheon and Festival of Tables.
This year’s event is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Great Hall of the First United Methodist Church, 200 W. Sixth Ave. Because of fire regulations, seating this year is limited to 350. Tickets, which are $15 each, must be purchased before the event. None will be sold at the door. Carryout will be available with a pre-purchased tickets. Ticket information is available by calling Carolyn Uschold, event co-chairman, at 870-536-1458.
There will be a delicious lunch served among tablescapes created by many talented people in the community, according to Virginia Barner, event co-chairman. The Jenkins Choir will perform songs of the season and there will be lots of door prizes.
The event is completely done by volunteers — the planning, decorating, cooking, serving and clean up, according to De De Foster, president of the Auxiliary. It takes most of a year to plan and prepare for the luncheon, she said. “We have about 35 active members who are involved,” Foster said.
Yearly membership dues are $10 and will be available at the luncheon. The Auxiliary meets the second Tuesday of each month, except June, July and August, at the Salvation Army Corps headquarters at 501 E. 12th Ave. Anyone with an interest in helping others is invited to join, Foster said.
This luncheon is the group’s major fundraiser for the year, Foster said. This year, the Auxiliary also bought and filled duffel bags with items, ranging from sheets, pillow and pillowcase to toiletries, for the 20 camp scholarship recipients, purchased sand for the fall safe area in the playground and acquired cookware for the Corps’ new canteen.
Auxiliary members assisted with the sign-up when 390 families were registered for assistance from the Salvation Army for Christmas. According to Capt. Joanna Robinson, Corps officer, this is 86 more than registered last year.
There were 108 senior citizens who registered for Christmas. The Auxiliary will purchase gifts for any of these who are not selected from the Angel Trees, which are in various locations throughout town.
Last year, the Auxiliary was able to buy each of those seniors who was not “adopted” a winter coat in addition to one of their wishes, Uschold said.
Beginning the week of Dec. 10, Auxiliary members will help with preparations for gift and food distribution day on Dec. 21 at which they will also assist. Auxiliary members also ring bells during the Red Kettle Drive, which continues through Dec. 24.
As guests arrive at the Great Hall, they will be greeted by Robinson, Foster and Bettie Mildred Pierce, founding president of the Auxiliary. They will be invited to pass among the tables to view the creations before being served a lunch of chicken spaghetti, coleslaw, French bread, strawberry cake and coffee, tea or water.
Denny Jordan and Brenda Cahill have secured volunteers to adorn 42 tables with Christmas finery: Volunteers in Public Schools, Anna Bess Westerfield, Maria Neff (two), Pat Drewett, Linda Hurd, Toni Bradford (two), Patty Membrey (two), Donna Davis, Ginny Haertlein, USA Drug, Kay Garrison, Kaye Richardson and Debbie James, Summit Baptist Church, Hospice Angels, Eloquent Ladies Civic and Social Club, Pine Bluff Art League, The Light House, Diane Crowder Designs, Shepherd Florist & Greenhouses Inc., Simmons First National Bank Classic Club, Eva Marie Pearson, Bobbie Joyce, Forrest Park Baptist Church, New Saint Hurricane Baptist Church, Camden Road Extension Homemakers Club, Wanda Bateman (two), June’s Hallmark, New Morning Star Baptist Church (two), Watson Chapel Picture Frames and Gifts, Old Morning Star Baptist Church, Small Florist & Gifts, The Petal Shoppe, Salvation Army (two), Bettye Johnson and Gerry Martin, Uschold and Carrie Scott’s Antiques.
Casserole makers are: Uschold, Mary Wimbley, Betty Coles, Linda Benson, Rosemarie Word, Joyce Johnson, Wanda Waring, Linda Minyard, Beth Turchi, Virginia Barner for Princella Gardner, Ruth Rogers, Jo Ann Ruggeri, Donna Chism, Warna Turner, Deloris Kelley, Brenda Robinson, Jordan, Robinson, Foster, Linda Eifling, Georgia La Grave, Virginia West and Zelda Hoaglan.
Turner and Janelle George are in charge of cakes. Cake bakers are: Linda Murray, Deidre Maxwell, Dorothy Anderson, Janelle George, Sally McGarity, Robinson, Barbara Rhinehart, Turner, Jane Arnold, Ann Creed, JoAnn Jacks, Theda Gathright, Doris Lenox, Nancy Paschal, Dorothy Lockhart, Eunita Seals, Katie Walt, Eunice Brooks, Jeanette Green, Princella Age, Shirley Word, Sandra Hatton, Evelyn Reed, Ethel Higgins, Girtha Adway, Tina Brown, Barbara Payne, La Grave, Jo McKeown and Gail St. Clair.
Gathright, Jacks and Chism will serve water, tea and coffee.
Kitchen workers are Hazel Barksdale, Hoaglan, Betty Cecil, Lockhart, Ruggeri, Rogers, Creed, Benson, La Grave, Turchi, Phyliss Tucker, Robinson and Kelley.
Others assisting are Deidre Maxwell, Seals, Anderson, McGarity, Bettye Johnson, Berinda Wallace, Eunice Brooks, Rhinehart, Odessa Wallace, Gardner, Patricia Johnson and Murray.
Other chairmen are: Minyard, Turner and Waring, membership; Ruggeri and Rogers, kitchen; Pearson, publicity; and Coles, Winkley and Ruth Bryant, choir servers.