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Salvation Army's Kettle Campaign appeals for help

BY SHARON BARDONNER - sbardonner@ftimes.com

The Salvation Army of Clinton County’s annual Red Kettle fundraising campaign is lagging well behind last year’s, and volunteers are needed to help ring the bells at the kettles to increase giving.

Administrator Edith Crews appealed for more bell ringers, noting the agency only has from now until Dec. 23 – there is no bell-ringing on the 24th – to collect what is a signifcant portion of its annual budget for 2018.

“We’re not hving very good luck this year,” said Crews. “We need about 15 people a day, since they work two-hour shifts, and we need more volunteers to sign up.”

Crews attributes the shortfall to two conflicting reasons. 

“It could be because the weather is nice and it’s been so warm people are out doing other things,” she noted. “But I would think the warm weather would be an incentive for people to volunteer to ring.”

The local Salvation Army, located at 300 W. Washington St., Frankfort, faces a goal of $30,000, and last year collected more than $32,000, said Crews. 

“But that was with Marsh,” she added. The Frankfort Marsh store closed its doors in June, and it had traditionally been one of the best locations for collecting donations, she explained.

She added that the goal of $30,000 was set for the local agency before it was known that Marsh was going out of business.

The remaining three Red Kettle locations are inside Schulz IGA and outside Rural King and Walmart in Frankfort. 

Finding volunteers is supposed to be a job someone else at the agency is undertaking but because of the campaign’s importance to Crews’ budget, she has been busy searching for volunteers herself.

Crews worries that donations will be less at a time when the needs are increasing. “The Red Kettle campaign definitely is needed to fund our Food Pantry and our Shelter, and our client numbers have gone way up,” she said. “In November, we had 806 people we served, so we’ve got to keep the donations going.”

On average, Crews estimated, last year they served 550 to 700 clients monthly.

Broken down daily, the Salvation Army had been seeing about 20 to 23 clients daily.

“Now it’s up to about 32 to 35. It takes three of us to keep up,” Crews said. “Our client numbers have definitely gone up.”

Bell ringers can pick their shifts – which usually run two hours – and man the kettle for multiple shifts. They can also work in teams if they want to and organizations and churches can take a full day and divide it up among participants. According to the local agency’s Facebook page, bell ringers who volunteer at Rural King can even take their dogs along.

Ringers are needed daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

To register as a bell ringer, visit www.registertoring.com. If you don’t have access to a computer, contact Crews at 765-654-7896.

If you want to donate directly, you can mail a check to Salvation Army, 300 W. Washington St., Frankfort, IN 46041.