PARKERSBURG - Volunteers with the Salvation Army of Parkersburg Corps are ringing bells this month as part of the Christmas in July campaign.
Every Friday and Saturday this month, bellringers will be at several local stores from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. collecting funds, just as they do during the Christmas red kettles drive.
"The summer months bring additional emergencies for families in need of food, clothing and utility assistance," said Lt. Mechelle Henry, pastor and commanding officer for the corps. "The fundraiser will help more people with the needed services throughout the summer."
The bellringers will be standing at entrances to Belk and J.C. Penney store at the Grand Central Mall as well as all four Foodland locations: 4000 Emerson Ave., 110 Gihon Village and 1206 Plum St. in Parkersburg and 400 23rd St. in Vienna.
"We notice that the summer months are the hardest for families with children," said Henry. "We want to be able to provide the needed services to our community during these difficult months."
This July fundraiser is a sister campaign to the Salvation Army's largest fundraiser of the red kettles Christmas drive, which helps the organization provide for people in need throughout the holiday season.
The 2012 campaign raised $172,364 between its start date of Veterans Day and noon on Christmas Eve when it ended. The campaign's goal was $165,000.
The funds raised during the annual red kettle campaign helped the organization provide about 1,500 families with social services assistance and toys and gifts for nearly 5,000 children and senior citizens over the holiday season 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. Those funds also help to assist more than 5,000 individuals with rent, food, prescriptions, utility and clothing needs throughout the year, Henry said.
"(Christmas in July) is another wonderful way to keep The Salvation Army in mind with the sounds of the bells," Henry said.
Volunteers are needed for this program. To give your time, contact the Salvation Army at 304-485-4529 for available times and locations.