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Salvation Army seeks volunteer ringers
November 06, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - From left, volunteers Tom Donahue, Kent Greenwalt and Dale Mahnke will be help ring the bells for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, starting on Nov. 27 at several area local stores.

Volunteers from around the area will be at their posts next to the Salvation Army red kettles to help ring in the holidays and help those in need.

“Our volunteers give of themselves and their time, which is wonderful,” said campaign coordinator Carmen Trevino with Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska. “We keep 90 percent of the funds raised in the local area to help individuals in the community.

"We also give some to the Scottsbluff and Gering police departments for them to help people.” About $35,000 was raised last year.

John Randall has helped coordinate the Red Kettle Campaign since its inception. “The success of this program depends entirely on volunteers,” he said. “Ringing for just one hour is a great way to give back to the community.”

He said members of local groups and clubs often volunteer as a group to help ring the bells. Just last year, some volunteers clocked about 50 hours for the campaign.

“I often hear wonderful stories from people who have been helped by the Salvation Army,” Randall said. “One boy brought us cookies and his mother told me they received help when their house burned down.”
Trevino agreed that ringing is a rewarding experience for anyone who gets involved.

Terrytown Mayor Kent Greenwalt has been ringing bells since the program started about 15 years ago. “You can’t help but enjoy it,” he said. “It’s worthwhile for the entire community.”

Two other volunteers, Tom Donahue and Dale Mahnke, also attended the news conference to announce the campaign. Both said once they got involved; they were hooked. Both enjoyed seeing people they knew and how the children got involved in putting coins into the kettle.

“This is a community program to help a lot of families,” Randall said. “Even change makes a difference. I help count the change after the weekend and it adds up to almost a thousand dollars. People have even dropped in rare coins. We’re even thankful for the pennies.”

The Red Kettle Campaign starts the night of Thanksgiving, Nov. 27 and through Saturday, Dec. 20. Ringers will be there on Fridays from 4 – 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Kettle locations this year are K-Mart, Walmart, Fresh Foods in Gering and Main Street Market and Safeway in Scottsbluff.

To volunteer ring the bells for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, call Trevino at (308) 633-3236 or Chris Holcomb at (308) 633-3198.
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