Bell ringers help spread holiday cheer for all

There are many traditions of the holidays that put people into the spirit of the season, from area homes being decorated for Thanksgiving and Christmas to joyful concerts and social gatherings.

Perhaps one of the most notable and worthy traditions, though, is the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign.

The familiar kettles with their accompanying bell ringer have been stationed outside local businesses for many years at this time of year.

Their mission is notable in that the funds raised at the kettles assist the Salvation Army carry out its charitable causes, which often involve making the holidays a little more cheerful for those in need.

Area residents can help the organization accomplish that mission in two ways – drop a donation into the kettles when you pass them and volunteer as a bell ringer. There’s always a need to have more bell ringers volunteer a shift or two, according to Capt. Cappy Moore of the Marquette Salvation Army, who added the schedule for volunteers is wide open at this time.

The collection began last week and runs through noon on Christmas Eve.

There are a total of 10 collection locations, including both entrances at Walmart, Super One, Econo Foods, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Valle’s, both entrances at Shopko, Walgreens and Big Lots in Marquette and Jack’s in Harvey.

Moore said the need for volunteers is the greatest at Walmart, Super One and Econo, but volunteers are welcome to pick any of the locations. In addition, the weekends are the most critical times to have the kettles staffed with bell ringers, although any time during the week is also fine.

To volunteer as a bell ringer a person must be at least 16 years old, although younger youths can participate if accompanied by a parent.

The collection goal this year is the same as in 2012 – $100,000 – although last year’s effort fell about $3,500 short of the goal. With that in mind, Moore said the Salvation Army is hoping to top the goal to level it out from last year.

For more information, contact Moore at 458-5964, and then get ready to pull on a warm coat, hat and gloves and go out and spread the holiday spirit while helping out a worthy cause.