LOWVILLE The Lewis County Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign has begun, but volunteer bell ringers are still being sought to help raise money for needy families in the county.
Last year, we had the best year we have ever had in Lowville, said Forrest R. Kimball, the area service unit coordinator at Salvation Army.
All the money raised in the local campaign, aside from 10 percent figured for administrative costs, goes directly to help Lewis County residents, he said.
Anne L. Merrill, executive director at the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce, said a conversation with Mr. Kimball last summer during a United Way picnic ultimately led to a resurgence of the bell-ringing campaign in Lewis County.
The chamber director said she mentioned the idea to last years Lewis County Leadership Academy, and class members Amy Marti and Rosalie Ritz picked it up as a project and ended up exceeding their goal of $5,000.
The two of them did a great job, Mr. Kimball said.
While red kettles have been around in this community for a long time, some years have seen a very minimal return for the Salvation Army, he said.
This year, the Rev. Keith W. Hardy Jr. pastor of Bethel Church of the Nazarene and a current Leadership Academy class member has agreed to oversee the effort and has set a goal of $10,000, Mrs. Merrill said.
A successful campaign will require a large number of bell ringers and therefore, Bethel Church is reaching out to individuals, families, organizations, businesses, clubs, youth and senior groups, and other churches for volunteers, states a release from the church.
The campaign will run through Dec. 24, with kettles stationed at Walmart and Tops Friendly Markets.
Those interested in volunteering in this effort are asked to call the Rev. Mr. Hardy at 376-7062 or sign up on their website www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0E48AAA629A6FD0-redkettle.
Funding from last years Lewis County campaign assisted needy county residents with emergency heating, clothing, temporary housing and other necessities, Mrs. Merrill said.
The Salvation Army receives nearly 70 percent of its yearly donations during the Red Kettle Campaign.
The organizations programs include support of veterans services, prison ministries, adult rehabilitation, housing and homeless services, hunger relief and youth camps.
For more information on the Salvation Army, visit its website at www.salvationarmyusa.org.