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Volunteers needed to ring for the red kettles

WORTHINGTON -- Starting Wednesday, the bells will be ringing at four Worthington locations in an effort to raise money for the Salvation Army. The annual Red Kettle campaign is the Salvation Army's largest fundraiser of the year, with all proceed...

WORTHINGTON - Starting Wednesday, the bells will be ringing at four Worthington locations in an effort to raise money for the Salvation Army.

The annual Red Kettle campaign is the Salvation Army’s largest fundraiser of the year, with all proceeds staying in Nobles County to purchase backpacks for the Back to School Project and provide emergency help to meet needs that cannot be filled through normal government agencies.

Red kettles will be stationed inside the entrances at Fareway, Hy-Vee, Runnings and Shopko beginning Wednesday and continuing through Dec. 24. This year’s goal is to raise $15,000.

Joanne Bartosh of A.C.E. of Southwest Minnesota is again coordinating volunteers to serve as bell ringers. New this year, individuals may sign up online in a quick and easy to use format at http://bit.ly/2g46uvl . The link is also available by visiting the A.C.E. website, www.aceswmn.org , and following the signup link listed under Nobles County; or by visiting the ACE of Southwest Minnesota/Nobles County Facebook Page and looking for the link.

While the online schedule covers shifts at each location between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. daily, except Sundays, Bartosh said volunteers are welcome to help ring the bell outside those hours if they are available, but there is to be no bell ringing on Sundays.

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“We want the community to help in any way, shape or form,” Bartosh said. “Right now, I’m just trying to get the bells covered.”

Anyone is welcome to help ring the bell, although children younger than age 18 must have a responsible adult accompany them. Volunteers are encouraged to be mindful and respectful of the store and the mission of the Salvation Army.

Bartosh encourages both groups and individuals to ring the bell, and invites businesses and organizations to engage in friendly competition with others to see who can raise the most money for the Salvation Army.

Groups are also welcome to sing Christmas carols while they ring the bell.

“If there is someone in need of community service, this is a really easy thing to fulfill that community service,” Bartosh said, noting that just because the kettles are in Worthington, people throughout the county are invited to ring the bell and help raise funds that stay within the county.

Volunteers affiliated with RSVP are encouraged to sign the schedule at the location where they are ringing the bell to have those hours count toward the A.C.E. program.

The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign has struggled in recent years in Nobles County because of the lack of volunteers willing to ring the bell. At one time, the Golden K Kiwanis group made sure the kettles were staffed during the Christmas season, but that group disbanded due to an aging and dwindling membership.

“Those folks were really hard to replace,” Bartosh said. “We don’t have a Bill Potts running around. I’m sure there’s someone as dynamic as he, but they’re just not coming forward.”

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Those who do volunteer to ring the bell, Bartosh said, enjoy their time because they get to see neighbors or friends they may not have seen in years.

Bartosh said if people would rather not ring the bell but would still like to help, they can make a monetary donation. Checks must be made to The Salvation Army of Nobles County, with “kettles” written on the memo line of the check.

As for the donations in the kettle, Bartosh said most people toss in their change.

“We don’t look for a lot of money coming in from one person - just what they’re willing to give,” she said.

For individuals unable to do the online sign-up to ring the bell, please contact Bartosh at 295-5262 and leave a message if she doesn’t answer.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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