The sound of the ringer of the Rice County Salvation Army got off to a good start.
Ed Little, the Salvation Army contact person for the campaign, said the unit is optimistic about meeting the $ 50,000 donation goal. The Rice County branch missed its target last year, and Little believes that too many open slot machines contributed to that result.
"If we put out a kettle without supervision, we could get $ 10 per hour, but it's easy to earn $ 25 on average with a volunteer [ringing the bells]," Little said.
Red kettles and bell ringers are stationed at the seven usual locations in Rice County. The participating companies in Faribault include Wal-Mart, which counts as two places with two different entrances, Hy-Vee and Fareway Foods. The two Northfield locations are Cub Foods and Econo Foods, while the location of Lonsdale is still Mackenthun & # 39; s.
Each company offers six volunteer shifts six days a week, Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Volunteers select which two-hour shifts fit their schedule and choose where they would like to ring the bells.
Little said that spouses, youth groups, Boy Scouts, 4-H clubs and other organizations have already participated in the campaign this year, and expect a hairdressing quartet to ring bells in the near future. Until 8 pm. On Saturday, December 13, the slot machines remain open.
Eighty-eight percent of every dollar raised by the Bell Ringing Campaign remains within the Rice County community. Shop with a Cop, an annual program in which social workers combine select students with members of the forces of order to buy winter clothes at Wal-Mart in Faribault and Target in Northfield, benefits greatly from Bell Ringing donations .
The Rice County Salvation Army Service Unit also uses donation money to share beer floats with seniors at badisted living facilities throughout the county.
Little said that most donations provide badistance in emergency situations, including housing payments, gas coupons, automobile repairs and night shelters. However, with the food shelves also available in Rice County, Little said the Salvation Army typically does not handle food-related emergencies.
The 12 percent of donations that are not returned to the county help in disaster situations throughout Minnesota and South Dakota, such as repairs to the home following flooding of a river. A small portion of the donations also covers administrative costs for the Rice County Salvation Army.
"It gives me satisfaction that I am helping people who have a need that they, without their own fault, can not fulfill," said Little. "It has been gratifying to know that I can help."
During her bell shifts, Little said she has met many people who donate and share their personal stories about the impact of the Salvation Army on them or their loved ones. Little has also benefited from the organization.
"The Salvation Army helped me by helping my father through an addiction, it saved his life," Little said. "So many good programs come out of the Salvation Army."
Wally Wetzel, the first ringer to volunteer at Hy-Vee in Faribault, agreed that donors are open to sharing their experiences.
"[The Salvation Army] is a great organization," said Wetzel. "I have lived on a farm for many years and decided to give something back to the Faribault community."
"It's a fun way to start your holiday season," said Little. "It's a really nice way to spread the joy of the Christmas season."
The annual hood campaign of the Rice County Salvation Army has been collecting donations since Friday, November 17 this year, but spaces are still available for volunteers at Faribault, Northfield and Lonsdale locations.
You can contact the journalist Misty Schwab by calling 507-744-2551. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty.
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