It is a mainstay of the Christmas season: iconic red kettles with a bell ringer collecting money for The Salvation Army.
Money donated now is used throughout the year for all their community programs that benefit children, disaster victims and food banks as well as support needy families.
The Salvation Army in Clearfield has issued a “rally cry” to Love Beyond Christmas this holiday season.
“When you support the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign, your love lasts all year long,” it says in one of their fliers.
“It puts a present under someone’s tree today, and a roof over someone’s head tomorrow. It brightens Christmas morning and the hardest of nights for our neighbors in need,” it notes.
“Together, we can love beyond Christmas.”
Clearfield’s leader, Major Stanley Newton said as of Dec. 15, they are at 55 percent of their $65,000 goal, which is 18 percent behind last year.
Extra help is needed because one of their “pivotal” locations is no longer available, which could lead to a loss of as much as $16,000.
Newton explained they are setting up at various events such as a wine walk, a tree lighting ceremony and the Nutcracker performance at CAST to try to make up for this loss. They also created a sponsorship program.
Limitations from the COVID pandemic has impacted Christmas donations in the past, and some of those changes are still causing problems.
For instance, people are not paying with or carrying cash that is easily dropped into the kettles. Fortunately, online donations have become more common to help with this problem.
To give online, you can go to https://tinyurl.com/clearfieldkettle or text KETTLE to 91999 and you will be sent a link to make your donation.
Another obstacle Newton is facing in 2022 is a shortage of volunteers because two of their regular bell ringers are not able to work because of health issues.
Arranging all the kettles and volunteers along with managing the Angel Tree effort, and providing gifts/holiday meals, keeps the staff “working seven days a week” for about six weeks, he said.
For more information, check out their Facebook page or if you want to volunteer to ring the bell at a kettle, call 814-765-4981.
All monies raised in the various communities, stay in that area.
In DuBois, Paris Uniform Services has agreed to match all the donations in that community, up to $2,500, given between Nov. 25 and Dec. 24, according to a press release.
“We are incredibly grateful Paris Uniform Services has once again chosen to support our work in DuBois,” Captain Andrew Spooner, Commanding Officer, The Salvation Army DuBois, said.
“Every donation stays here in our community and goes toward funding much-needed social services and programs.”
“The red kettles are a symbol of the season of giving, but the work of The Salvation Army continues well beyond the holidays,” David Stern, chief executive officer of Paris Companies, said.
“We cannot think of a better way to support our neighbors in need. Together, let’s help ensure The Salvation Army can continue to be a source of help and hope for our community for years to come.”
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle goal for DuBois is $40,000.
Elk County’s Salvation Army announced earlier this year their Warm Hearts Campaign, which will “help seniors and veterans stay warm this winter,” according to another press release.
This program is a response to the current high fuel prices.
“It is not only about the high energy bills and skyrocketing price of utilities, it is also an issue of access since delivery of oil to residences can cost hundreds, or even close to $1,000,” Hope Weichman, director of The Salvation Army’s Elk County Service Center, said.
“We are so grateful to our campaign donor who has generously offered to match every donation we receive. Let’s work together as a community to make sure no one is left in the cold this winter.”
You can donate to this effort at give.salvationarmy.org/ElkCountyWarmHearts.
Paper donation tags can be found at various locations in St. Marys, Ridgway and Johnsonburg.
If you need assistance, applications are available at the office in downtown Ridgway, as well as the VA office in Ridgway and the legion in Wilcox or you can call The Salvation Army Elk County at 814-772-0485 for more information.