The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign is coming to Chickasaw County, and a local volunteer says raising money is only part of the reason she’s excited bell ringers will soon be manning kettles.
“Not a lot of people realize that we have a Salvation Army Unit Team of Chickasaw County,” said Liz Markham. “The need is growing, and to be able to raise funds will allow us to help more people, more families.”
Conway-Markham Funeral Home has served as the county’s service unit team for the past 13 years, but Markham said she not only to raise money but to raise awareness of the organization.
“I guess the best way to put it is it’s been fairly passive,” she said, “but over the course of the last few years, we’ve seen the needs jump and we want to be able to do more to help.”
She talked to the Salvation’s Army regional director about bringing a red kettle to Chickasaw County and earlier this month received the OK.
The kettle campaign will start on Wednesday at Fareway and be at Shopko on Friday and Schueth Ace Hardware on Saturday. It will then continue through Christmas Eve at various sites in the county.
The good news is that 70 percent of the money raised in the campaign will stay in Chickasaw County.
Markham said the Salvation Army uses its funds for a variety of “emergency needs,” including helping with rents, utility bills, food and rides to medical appointments.
And she emphasized that the unit team serves all of Chickasaw County.
“Sometimes people think this is just a New Hampton thing,” she said, “but if people need help anywhere in the county, we want to be able to step up and give them the assistance they need.”
The key now, though, is to find volunteers to man the bell and kettle.
Markham has a good start on the first week schedule but is hoping people will take to heart the adage “many hands make light work.”
She is asking those who are interested in signing up for one-hour shifts to call her at 641-394-4331, e-mail her at email@example.com or stop in and see her at the funeral home in New Hampton.
She said she is hoping businesses will take part in a the first annual Red Kettle Challenge.
At a reception that will be held for all volunteers following the campaign, the business that provides the most volunteer hours will receive a “traveling plaque.”
And Markham said she has no doubt that volunteers will come forward.
“It’s been great to see the community support we’ve received already,” she said. “The businesses we’ve approached have been so open to us and that’s exciting. ... And really, this is a a great activity for families, for us to teach our children the importance of giving back to their community and those people who are going through some real struggles.”