FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) – A Marion County Hospital has teamed up with the Salvation Army hoping to make this year’s Christmas special for more than 500 children.

WVU Medicine Fairmont Medical Center and the Marion County Salvation Army kicked off the 2023 Angel Tree Program together Thursday morning in Fairmont. The two groups also held the Kettle kick-off celebration in the front lobby of the hospital.

The iconic red kettles will start appearing in the community on Saturday, Nov. 19. And the Angel Trees will start appearing in various locations on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Organizers said it’s been more than a decade since they’ve seen this many Marion County children in need during the holiday season. “This is the most number we’ve had in over 10 years,” said Lewis Boyce, Fairmont Salvation Army Advisory Chairman. “So the need in Marion County is great right now. So if anybody has the ability and the means to do so, it would be a really good chance to provide money, funds back into the community and give these children a chance to have a really nice Christmas this year.”

Marion County now has 547 children signed up for the Angel Tree Program. If you would like to sponsor one, the tree in the hospital lobby is already set up and several more will be available in the county, including at Walmart.

“During the holiday season, times are a little tough for some. As everybody knows the economy has been a little rough for everybody,” said WVU Medicine Fairmont Medical Center Nurse Director Cari Morgan. “So this is a way to support somebody directly in your community.”

The Salvation Army also needs kettle ringers to volunteer. The easiest way to volunteer or to get more information is to get in touch with Heather at the Thrift store in Fairmont on Locust Avenue.