The Jacksonville Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign is off to a very slow start this year.
The campaign officially kicked off on November 9th. Captain Chris Clarke says he’s concerned that they are seeing less hours reserved for bell ringers this year: “Kettles are the biggest fundraiser that the Salvation Army has. It makes up more than 1/3 of our annual income, so it’s so important. We can put the kettles out, but we’ve found that if there is no bell ringers, people don’t put money in the kettles. It’s vitally important that we have bell ringers out there. We’re only at 10% occupied for the amount of available hours for bell ringers that we have through Christmas Eve. We’re definitely reaching out to the community that we need volunteers. We have 10 locations this year, which is actually double the amount of locations we’ve had in the past. We have several that are indoors. People can sign up at registertoring.com or they can give us a call at 217-245-7124 and we can tell them what’s available.”
Currently, there is still over 5,000 available hours of bell ringing available.
Clarke says that nearly 40% of the organization’s funding is raised in the final two months of the year annually: “It’s vitally important that we do make our goals. We have a long way to go. This year we need to raise $150,000 by Christmas Eve. If people want to make donations or if they simply could take just an hour or two of their day and volunteer to ring the bell, that would be awesome. One of the great things about the Jacksonville community is that we definitely care about our people, so we get together regularly and help those who are in need.”
Clarke says if bell ringing is not something you wish to do, there are other opportunities to help as a holiday volunteer. The Jacksonville Salvation Army will need volunteers for serving both a Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meal at the citadel; or you can donate by purchasing a toy off of one of the many Salvation Army Angel Trees around Jacksonville.
To find out more information, visit the citadel at 331 West Douglas Avenue, call 217-245-7124, or visit their official webpage here or find the Jacksonville Salvation Army on Facebook.