The holiday season just doesn’t have that same old ring to it, as the local Salvation Army sees it.
But the charitable organization would like to change that.
The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign began the weekend before Thanksgiving and runs through Dec. 24, but the local charity drive is short on bell-ringers this year; currently, there are more than 200 open shifts for local sites in Greenfield and New Palestine.
The campaign saw a shortage of ringers last year as well. Local bell-ringers were in place only 600 hours in 2014, compared to the 900 hours staffing buckets in 2013. The organization’s statistics showed passers-by gave well at an hourly rate, but the group took a hit when no one was there to collect, and the drop in volunteers led to a drop in donations.
The 2014 Red Kettle Campaign fell about $8,000 short of its $50,000 goal. By comparison, roughly $46,500 was raised in Hancock County in 2013.
Money from the Red Kettle campaign allows the Christian church and social service agency to help the less fortunate in a variety of ways. Every penny dropped in the buckets here stays in Hancock County: 70 percent of the donations are used to assist individuals and families in financial emergencies; 20 percent is used to fund local nursing home programs, children’s summer camps and school supplies distributions; and the remaining 10 percent covers operational costs.
The organization has two types of ringers, volunteers and paid ringers, who earn $8 per hour. Volunteers can be individuals or groups, so shifts of varying lengths can be arranged. Volunteers also can choose which community to ring in, so you don’t have to drive a long distance.
The Red Kettle Campaign is the group’s primary and most public fundraising effort. The money brought in before Christmas is meant to fund programs throughout the year. On the national level, the organization is one of the lead agencies in disaster relief.
But to help fill the kettles, the Salvation Army needs bell ringers. So if you have a couple of hours to spare this holiday season, thousands of central Indiana residents — including many here in Hancock County — could use your help.
To volunteer as a Salvation Army bell ringer, go to salvationarmyindiana.org/. You can choose the community where you will help collect money.
The Red Kettle Campaign is the Salvation Army’s largest fundraising effort, but a shortage of volunteers leaves some sites unattended.
By volunteering as bell ringers, members of the community can help the charity meet its goal.