Salvation Army’s kettle campaign is underway

Published 2:00 pm Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Albert Lea Salvation Army kicked off its 2008 Red Kettle Campaign Friday with a bucket brigade of sorts through Northbridge Mall, as it set on its path to raise $134,000 for local programming and efforts to help those in need.

Just after 10 a.m., three members of the Albert Lea Fire Department arrived outside Northbridge Mall carrying a Salvation Army red kettle. The firefighters passed off the kettle, one by one, to each other and then to local Salvation Army Capts. Jim and Lee Brickson.

Inside the mall, the Bricksons handed off the kettle one by one to other Salvation Army staff and volunteers all the way down the mall to the kettle stand outside of the Herberger’s store.

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There, at the end of the chain of people, Chris Mishler, the 2008 Albert Lea Salvation Army Christmas chairman, attached the kettle to the stand.

It was the official start of bell ringing, which will go through the month of December.

Mishler encouraged people to support the cause of the Salvation Army. Though people are living in uncertain economic times, he said, they still need to remember there are still people out there who are less fortunate.

The sound of bell ringers will be a constant reminder of the need that is trying to be met. There will be bell ringers out at ShopKo, Herberger’s, Hy-Vee, Nelson’s Market Place and Wal-Mart. There will also be about 60 counter kettles at different business throughout town.

Funds raised through the campaign at the various locations around town help the Salvation Army with a myriad of assistance programs for the community, including after-school and summer day-care programs for low-income families, temporary shelter, rental and fuel assistance, a food pantry and budget counseling to help families achieve economic independence.

“The Salvation Army does some wonderful things,” Mishler said. “Most people don’t realize all the things they do.”

Just this week, the Salvation Army served a community Thanksgiving meal to about 420 people.

Capt. Lee Brickson wanted to emphasize that the money raised through the campaign stays local.

“Each community raises for its own community,” she said.

Though the organization does help externally in some cases, it mainly helps locally.

Those who would like to volunteer to help bell ringing still have about 544 bell ringing hours to choose from out of a total of 1,454 hours.

Volunteering to ring the bells is a way of giving, even in times of financial hardship, she said.

People in need of Christmas assistance can fill out applications Dec. 4 and 5 from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 6 p.m. at 302 Court St. Applicants must live in Freeborn County. They need to bring identification for each member of the household, proof of residence and proof of all household income.

Distribution will be Dec. 18 from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 6 p.m. and on Dec. 19 from 9 a.m. to noon at 822 S. Broadway Ave. (the old Buy-n-Save building).