Ringing in the season

Salvation Army lining up volunteers as red kettles coming out this weekend

MARSHALL — Tis the season. The Salvation Army season.

The Lyon County Salvation Army’s 2017 kettle campaign is Nov. 17 through Dec. 23.

“We don’t ring on Sundays and we don’t ring on Thanksgiving Day,” said Deloris Richards and Paul Bridgland, the Lyon County kettle coordinators. “Bell ringing sites are located at Hy-Vee, Runnings and Shopko.”

Anyone wanting to volunteer to bell ring may call Bridgland at 507-532-6474 or email him at bridgland@charter.net.

“Volunteers at the kettle make a huge difference,” Bridgland said.

Bridgland said people say it’s a great experience.

“I’ve never had anyone say, ‘I’ll never do it again,'” he said. “It’s a great way to give back to the community.”

People ring in hour increments.

“You can do an hour after work,” Bridgland said.

Kids are encouraged to help bell ring as well as groups, Bridgland said.

“We have the girls hockey team one day and realtors are taking December 1,” he said. “They’ve been very good at supporting us.”

The 2017 Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign kicks off Saturday with a Santa Claus Marathon. From 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Saturday, Santa Claus will be ringing the bell at Hy-Vee.

“Santa Claus will be set up near the floral department,” said Bridgland. “Hy-Vee is being very generous. Hy-Vee will match what Santa collects up to $1,000. We’ll also give out candy canes for the kiddies.”

Donations raised during the kettle campaign help people in Lyon County, said Bridgland.

“What’s raised in the county, stays in the county,” he said.

Bridgland said The Salvation Army helps people after they have exhausted other avenues of help, such as United Community Action Partnership.

“About 40 percent of the money we give out is for transportation, mainly for car repairs,” he said. “About 27 percent is for rent, you get behind because of illness, you got laid off from work.”

Some money is for utilities.

“That picks up in the winter,” he said. “Then you have the spring when they start getting shut-off notices.”

This is Richards’ second year coordinating the kettle campaign. When Jaen Weilage heard that she was retiring as senior dining coordinator, she snatched her up for the recently-vacated position of kettle campaign coordinator.

“Paul walked in (to the Adult Community Center) and I said, ‘I’ll do it if he helps,'” Richards said.

“It’s a great organization,” said Bridgland, who has been a bellringer for about six years.

Last year we raised $33,000,” Richards said. “We hope to do better than that this year.”