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The Salvation Army is once again collecting donations to make the holidays brighter for those in need. At its official kettle drive kick-off at The Shops at Atlas Park, Councilmember Dennis Gallagher joined the Salvation Army brass ensemble and helpers at the 17-foot giant teddy bear to let residents know about the importance of giving aid to those less fortunate. &#8220The [collection] kettles come out in the holiday season but the need exists all year,” said Captain Angelo Bermeo of the Astoria Community Center. &#8220We need Queens residents to help us help their neighbors in need.” Last year, the Salvation Army raised more than $2 million in Queens to support Christmas aid programs. The five Salvation Army community centers in Queens last year served more than 7,000 meals, provided more than 1,500 grocery orders and distributed 11,000 gifts. Year-round, the centers provide food, clothing and other assistance to needy residents in every corner of the borough.

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