Salvation Army goal is highest ever

Published 9:07 am Monday, November 15, 2010

With the Salvation Army kettle season just around the corner, the organization’s local leaders are asking for the community’s support in meeting a Christmas kettle goal that is higher than ever before.

Albert Lea Salvation Army Capt. Jim Brickson said because of a 78 percent increase in services for Freeborn County residents during the past year, the organization has set this year’s Christmas goal at $186,000, which is at least $10,000 higher than the 2009 goal.

Jim Brickson

All funds raised go to help the Salvation Army provide myriad services to 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, among others.

To help tackle the goal, Brickson said, the Salvation Army is creating more opportunities for volunteerism.

In the past, volunteers had the opportunity to ring bells and collect donations at both doors at Walmart, the center court of Northbridge Mall, Shopko, Hy-Vee and Nelson’s Market Place.

This year, there will be an additional location — at Trail’s Travel Center — which will need another set of volunteers.

“If we could keep the bells continually ringing at all the locations all during the campaign, it is more than possible,” Brickson said. “We now have six kettle locations, and if we did not let a site go empty for even an hour, this would be the first step toward the goal.”

Brickson made a plea to community members to find just two hours of their time to ring a bell at one of the locations or even considering sponsoring an entire day with family members, friends or even co-workers.

He encouraged people to plan ahead and schedule a time to volunteer.

Counter kettles will be placed throughout area businesses starting Tuesday.

Then on Friday and Saturday, volunteers will begin ringing bells at both Nelson’s Market Place and Hy-Vee.

Bell ringing will be in full swing at all locations Nov. 26.

On Nov. 23, the Northbridge Mall will sponsor an Evening of Giving at the mall, starting at 5 p.m. in the center court.

During this event, which is set up to support the Salvation Army, people can bring nonperishable food items in exchange for a goodie bag from mall vendors. They can also get in on a drawing for bags of groceries.

There will be cookie decorating and turkey bowling, and then at 6 p.m. the red kettle will be brought to the mall by Albert Lea firefighters and then carried in one person at a time to the stand in the center court.

Santa Claus will also make an appearance.

People who would like to get involved in the kettle campaign or to volunteer ringing bells can call 507-373-5710 or register online at www.thesalarmy.org/albertlea.

At the site, click “Wanna Be a Bell Ringer,” which will ask volunteers to set up their own account by entering an e-mail address and password.

From there, people can select a day, time and location they wish to volunteer. After making the selection online, a confirmation e-mail will be sent back.

The kettle campaign goes through Dec. 24.