PARKERSBURG - Bells are ringing around the city as the Salvation Army Parkersburg Corps has begun its red kettle drive for the holiday season.
This year's drive began on Veterans Day and will be out at stores across the area until Christmas Eve, said Maj. Vernon Dolby with the organization.
"Right now we are at Kroger, Foodland, Big Lots and Kmart stores and after Thanksgiving we will be at Wal-Mart and Sams Club," he said.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Salvation Army kettle bell ringer Georgiann Smith mans her station at the Plum Street Foodland Monday afternoon. Smith said she had been ringing bells for 10 years, the last four at the Plum Street location.
After Thanksgiving, there will be 23 kettle sites around the Mid-Ohio Valley collecting loose change and other cash donations from shoppers. The mail donations account for the bulk of the Christmas season collections.
The money collected during the drive will fund Christmas for families that include about 4,000 children throughout the Salvation Army's coverage region. The Corps aids families and individuals in Wood, Calhoun, Jackson, Ritchie, Wirt and Pleasants counties.
The red kettle money goes to purchasing a meal basket for each family as well as holiday gifts for children under the age of 12 whose cards were not taken from the Angel Trees by good samaritans.
A Just Cause
The red kettles are ringing throughout Parkersburg as the Salvation Army Parkersburg Corps began collecting for the holiday season on Veterans Day.
Maj. Vernon Dolby with the organization said he is worried collections will be down this year because of the poor economy.
Money to fund the yearly gift giving for children and food baskets comes from red kettle donations and other donations to the Salvation Army.
The Angel Trees will be in stores and restaurants around the community on black Friday. They allow community members who have a little extra to give to select a child and provide for a Christmas.
"The bulk of the angels are usually adopted by good samaritans in the community, which is fantastic," Dolby said.
The angels left over are provided for by the Salvation Army office their families applied for assistance through.
"We are here to take care of the people and make sure the children have a Christmas," Dolby said. "We will worry about the bills after the holiday."
With that known, Dolby said he is worried that the red kettles will not meet the annual $150,000 goal while the applications for Angel Tree recipients are up.
"We have more applications in this year than we did last year at this time," he said. "A lot of people that were donors last year will be recipients this year."
The Parkersburg office on Fifth Street will continue to take Angel Tree applications through next week.
"We will never close the applications, as long as there is a real need," Dolby said.
Last year, 550 families were given a Christmas through the program.
If there are funds left over after the holidays, they are used in the community for Salvation Army services such as rent assistance, food, clothing and some prescriptions.
Volunteers are needed to ring the bells at the kettles. There are no collections on Sundays. Those interested in volunteering in the Parkersburg drive can call 304-485-4529.