‘Filling the pot’: Pike County Salvation Army says fundraising campaign down from last year

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Salvation Army’s bells are ringing all around town and people are responding, however, donations to the 2014 Red Kettle fundraising campaign are down, slightly.

Kim May, Pike County Salvation Army director, said people continue to give, as is the Pike County tradition, but giving in smaller amounts.

“Maybe, it’s the economy or shoppers could be waiting to take advantage of sales that will be offered closer to Christmas,” May said. “Then, maybe, shopping will pick up and so will the Red Kettle donations. But, the generosity of the people of Pike County has always shone through and I believe it will again this year. Pike County is a very caring and giving community.”

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May said bell ringers are also needed, especially, during the weekdays.

“We ring at Walmart from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday,” she said. “At the other locations, Piggly Wiggly 231, Walgreen’s and Food World, we ring on Fridays and Saturdays. We need ringers at all locations, but especially at Walmart during the week.

“Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army is lending a helping hand to friends and neighbors in need. All of the money raised here in Pike County stays here to help people with different needs.”

May said groups and individuals are encouraged to volunteer as bell ringers.

“Bells are rung in two-hours shifts and we have stools available at all locations so you don’t have to stand up to ring,” she said. “Being a bell ringer is a very rewarding experience because you get to see, first hand, the giving spirit of the people of our community. It’s also rewarding to know that you have been a part of making the Christmas season brighter and better for a lot of others.”

May said the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign dates back to 1891 when a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco, Joseph McFee, made a commitment to provide a free Christmas dinner to the area’s poor. “But he had to find a way to pay for the food,” she said. “As he thought about it, he remembered the days when he was a sailor in Liverpool England. A large pot, called Simpson’s Pot” was put on stage loading and those who passed by would often throw in charitable donations.”

McFee was given permission from the authorities to place a similar pot at the Oakland ferry landing at the foot of Market Street where it could be seen by those going to and from the ferryboats.

“Captain Joseph McFee began a tradition that has spread all across the United States and around the world,” May said. “The Salvation Army offers its services without discrimination in 107 countries around the world.

“Eighty-seven percent of all funds received by the Salvation Army go directly to programs that help the community, making the Salvation Army the number-one charity in the world for eight years in a row.”

Monetary donations and donations to the Salvation Army Service Center and Thrift Store on South Brundidge Street in Troy are greatly appreciated. These donations help those in need in the Pike County community.

May said a large number of people, especially the elderly, have to choose between medications and utility bills during this time of the year. “It’s a tough decision to have to make but many people are having to make that choice,” she said. “Donations to the Red Kettle campaign and the Salvation Army Service Center help eliminate the necessity of making those hard decisions.”