MILLEDGEVILLE — Many families in need of financial assistance, food, clothing, household items, toys and even faith during the Christmas holidays receive aid and hope through community donations to Salvation Army’s holiday assistance programs.
During the season of caring and sharing, many local volunteers can be found around town ringing the famous gold bells and collecting monetary donations in the traditional red kettle, which plays an integral part of the Christmas scene.
Bell ringers will continue urging Walmart, Kroger and Hobby Lobby shoppers to help feed families this Christmas from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.
“Our goal this year is to raise $30,000 in the Baldwin County area, and we have not met that goal. The money collected in the red kettles will go to help provide food for families for Christmas,” Salvation Army Service Center Director Lisa Bell said. “Volunteers are a major part of our recruit because every volunteer we don’t have to pay to bell ring, that’s one more child we can feed.”
Nine students volunteered their time to bell ring outside Kroger Thursday in hopes to fill up the Salvation Army red kettle. They were participating as a community service project for Baldwin High School HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America).
“I want to help others have a better Christmas,” senior Kayla McCray said. “We want people to donate to make someone happy.”
The bell ringing season starts in November and runs through Christmas Eve. Salvation Army provided nearly 4.2 million people assistance during the holidays last year.
“We’re not just bell ringing; we’re helping and assisting year-round people who live paycheck to paycheck, including veterans and the elderly,” Bell said. “This year, we had well over 15 groups help bell ring, which is a lot more than last year. We’ll be able to help well over 150 children, and that does not include the elderly.”