Red Kettle donations support local Salvation Army projects

By : 
CHARLIE WARNER
BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPER GROUP

During this holiday season, when hearing a bell ringing and seeing the smiling volunteers around the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle, be assured the money being donated will help the less fortunate persons living right in this area. Bell ringing for the Red Kettle program is underway and it is time for all to give!

“Our goal is to raise about $16,000 through the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle program in Fillmore County and 88 percent of that money will remain right here,” said Shelia Craig of the county board of the Red Kettle organization. Craig and a group of Fillmore County volunteers meet about ten times each year with representatives from each community, to plan the annual drive that takes place during the holiday season.

Craig explained the Salvation Army Northern Division has been serving people in need in Minnesota and North Dakota for more than 125 years. They provide basic needs for assistance with housing, youth services, rehabilitation, disaster relief, counseling and more. The corporate office is in Roseville, Minn.

According to Craig, here in Fillmore County, the budget covers areas of assistance for the less fortunate such as utilities, rent, gas vouchers, etc.; Easter and Thanksgiving food baskets; the “Shop With a Cop” and Community Care projects, with the most recent one being the assembly of Memory Boxes that were given to all of the care centers in the county.

Craig pointed out that only 12 percent of what is raised within the county during the holiday season drive (which runs from mid-November through Christmas) is sent on to the state offices for administrative needs. The vast majority remains right here to help Fillmore County residents.

At the time of this interview, not all of the community representatives had reported in to Craig, as far as where and when bell ringing will take place.  Craig did provide the following Red Kettle ringing times and locations in Fillmore County during December:

• Mabel Red Kettles with bell ringers will at the Mabel American Legion on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• The Red Kettle bell ringers will be out in Preston on Friday, Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the F & M Bank and from 4 to 7 p.m. in front of Preston Foods.

• Salvation Army kettles are out in Harmony on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at Harmony Foods and in the downtown in December. There will be a special ringing on Dec. 7 at the Golden Happenings Christmas Party.

• Those attending Canton’s Santa Day celebration this Saturday, Dec. 8, will be greeted with the bell ringers at the Canton Community Hall and also later on during the lighted parade in downtown Canton.

• In Spring Valley, the Red Kettle will be located at Sunshine Foods until Dec. 31 and open for donations during store hours 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

Craig said the volunteer bell ringers come from all age groups, from elementary school students to adults. Church groups, civic and volunteer organizations and individuals all donate their time serving as bell ringers.

Rev. Elliott Malm of the First Lutheran Church of Mabel, who is also on the county board, said lining up the volunteer bell ringers at the various locations is one of the major endeavors ramping up right before the holiday season.

“If it wasn’t for all of the volunteers, this program wouldn’t be so successful. There are a lot of generous people who donate their time,” Malm said. “It’s really a hodge-podge of people who volunteer: church groups, service groups and individuals.”

So, the next time one hears that ringing bell, please donate by stuffing some green into the Red Kettle. ‘Tis the holiday season…a time for giving.