PARKERSBURG - Bells are ringing around the area as the Salvation Army in Parkersburg has begun its annual red kettle drive for the holidays.
The goal is $165,000, said Lt. Mechelle Henry, an officer with the organization's Parkersburg Corps.
"The kettles are doing really well, so far," Henry said. "Right now we have 15 kettle spots with the kettles out and will add more after the holiday."
Photo by Jolene Craig
Al Wolfe of Parkersburg smiles as he rings the bell in front of J.C. Penney at the Grand Central Mall. Wolfe is one of the bell ringers for the Salvation Army in Parkersburg.
This year's drive began on Nov. 9 in time for Veterans Day and will run until Christmas Eve.
Kettles are at the Grand Central Mall, Kroger, Foodland, Big Lots and Kmart stores and after Thanksgiving at Wal-Mart and Sams Club.
Al Wolfe of Parkersburg Tuesday was ringing the bell and thanking those donating spare change in front of J.C. Penney at the Grand Central Mall.
"This is my fourth year and I really enjoy it," he said. "The Salvation Army does so much good and by being involved I get to see all of the work they do."
After Thanksgiving, there will be 23 kettle sites around the Mid-Ohio Valley. Mail donations account for the bulk of the Christmas season collections.
This year's $165,000 goal is an increase from last year's goal of $150,000.
"We are doing everything we can to help those in need this holiday season," Henry said. "We hope the community helps us reach this goal."
The money collected during the drive will fund Christmas for about 700 families with about 4,000 children in the Salvation Army's coverage region. The corps aids residents in Wood, Calhoun, Jackson, Ritchie, Wirt and Pleasants counties.
Donations purchase a meal basket for each family and holiday gifts for children under the age of 12 whose cards were not taken from the Angel Trees.
Angel Trees will be in stores and restaurants around the community on Friday and will allow residents who have a little extra to help a child and provide for their Christmas.
"The bulk of the angels are usually adopted by good samaritans in the community, which is fantastic," Henry said. "We are still looking for people to sponsor families and kettles and companies to sponsor toy drives."
Remaining angels are provided for by the Salvation Army office where their families applied for assistance.
"No matter what, the children who have an angel will have a Christmas, whether they are taken off the trees or not," Henry said. "We are here to provide a good holiday for the children."
Last year the Parkersburg corps aided more than 1,000 families and more than 4,000 children with a boxed Christmas meal of ham and all of the sides, toys and clothes for the kids.
Although the kettle drive has started, the Salvation Army is always looking for volunteers to ring the bells and man the kettles, Henry said.
"We have a lot of civic organizations and church groups and even some families, but we are always looking for more volunteers," she said.
To volunteer, contact Dawn Haught with the organization at 304-485-4529 ext. 203.