“We are a few days short this year, so we’re counting on the generosity of the community to rally behind us,” Salvation Army Lt. Michelle Wilson said. “Because of the way Thanksgiving fell, we actually ended up with five less days. But we know that the citizens of Bartow County are able to come out and support us in the way that they have done every year and [we are] looking forward to a successful campaign.
“... We are pretty well covered with our bell ringers for the weekends. We’re looking for a lot more volunteers throughout the weekdays. [That] is where our shortage is right now.”
Through Dec. 24, bell ringers will accept financial donations from the community at Red Kettle stations each Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., outside various Cartersville locations, including Belk, Kroger, Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, Big Lots and Ingles markets on Joe Frank Harris Parkway and West Avenue.
“It is really neat just to see the community come together to help us as we’re doing this fundraising event,” said Lt. Lee Wilson with the local Salvation Army. “... Whether it’s a child giving out of their piggy bank or a more affluent donor writing a big check, it all goes to making change, if you will, in the community for the better.
“There are a number of people who can’t wait until the Christmas season comes around so that they can take part in the bell ringing or giving monetary donations. They look forward to this time of year, just so that they can support The Salvation Army and all that it does — not just during the Christmas season, but year-round.”
If the nonprofit’s Red Kettle campaign meets its goal, the proceeds will account for about 20 percent of the local Salvation Army’s operating budget, which includes providing social services to financially struggling residents, Christmas assistance, character building programs and emergency disaster services. Last year, the Cartersville Corps served 8,055 individuals through its social services program, provided more than 3,600 toys to youth during Christmastime and offered character-building services to 1,231 children.
“The bell ringing program helps us provide for the programs and services that The Salvation Army offers here in Bartow County,” Michelle Wilson said. “And, of course, the kettle drive is our largest public fundraiser that we have each year.<B>
“... Every donation that’s received ... in the kettle, it helps someone who can’t put food on the table for their family. It helps someone whose utility bill is going to be disconnected. It helps provide prescription assistance to someone who is uninsured. It provides clothing to someone who’s lost everything in a disaster, like a fire or a flood, as well as ... our Christmas assistance that we provide in the community and then also the character-building programs that we offer to underprivileged children.”
For more information about serving as bell ringers in the Red Kettle campaign, contact the Cartersville Corps at 770-386-6256.