BY CAROL ROEHM
The Danville Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign kicked off earlier this month with a goal of $115,000 to be raised through bell ringing, mail appeals and online donations.
Last year, the Danville corps at 855 E. Fairchild St. collected $111,000 during the campaign, exceeding its $110,000 goal.
Caseworker Karen Kirby said Thursday that $10,000 had been collected so far. The funds collected during the campaign cover the local Salvation Army’s day-to-day operations for a year.
The money supports social services, programming, bills, employees’ pay, food pantry, Christmas baskets and clothing vouchers and helps citizens pay for utilities, rent or shelter and medicine.
The Red Kettle drive makes up about one-third of the annual Salvation Army budget, with mail appeals, grant money, United Way money and other donations making up the other two-thirds of the budget.
For the last several years, the Danville corps, which is a United Way of Danville Area agency, has had the good fortune of receiving a gold Krugerrand in one of its kettles. Not every Salvation Army receives the valuable South African coin during the campaign.
Local Salvation Army workers don’t know the identity of the person or people who drop the gold coin worth about $1,700 in the kettle each year because it’s always wrapped in cash.
Need for volunteers
The Salvation Army’s dedicated bell ringers are a critical part of the red kettle drive. This year, the Danville corps has 14 paid bell ringers, but Sharon Sawka, director of social services, wishes the ministry could attract more volunteer bell ringers.
“For whatever reason, we haven’t gotten the volunteers this year,” she said. “The more volunteers we have, the better because then we won’t have to take money away from something else to pay for bell ringers.”
Sawka said families, friends and coworkers are encouraged to team up to ring bells at a location. In the past, some have made it a group effort or even a friendly competition.
Volunteers are asked to ring bells for at least two hours.
“We have groups from different churches who have volunteered,” Sawka said. “We have one church that will ring bells at each of our sites for two hours.”
Bell ringers are stationed at 14 stores in the area, including two CVS locations; two Walgreens locations; Big R in Danville and Tilton; three County Market locations at Village Mall, Towne Centre and Tilton; Big Lots; Wal-Mart; Price Less Foods; IGA in Catlin; and Lowe’s.
Other ways to help
If volunteering to ring bells outside isn’t possible, there are other ways to help the local Salvation Army.
Individuals, families or businesses can ring a virtual bell by setting up a mini kettle campaign online of their own through their Facebook or e-mail account.
A personal, team or company kettle can be set up online at http://www.
onlineredkettle.com, with proceeds going directly to the Danville location.
Online donations also can be earmarked for the Danville corps at http://www.salvationarmyusa.org.
Anyone interested in being a volunteer bell ringer should call the Danville
Salvation Army at 442-5911.
Individuals can set up a virtual kettle on their Facebook or e-mail accounts, with proceeds going directly to the Danville corps, by going to http://www.onlineredkettle.com.
Online donations also can be made earmarked specifically for the Danville corps at http://www.salvationarmyusa.org.