By Alice E. Gerard
If you enjoy spreading holiday cheer, you might be just the person that the Grand Island Rotary Club is looking for to volunteer as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army’s annual red kettle fundraising campaign.
According to Sherry Taylor Miller, president of the Grand Island Rotary Club, “The demand for assistance from the Salvation Army is higher than ever. Also, the locations where the Salvation Army has bell ringers are limiting the participants to one per kettle.
“Some people are reluctant to come out and volunteer. We’re doing the best we can,” Miller said.
The Rotary Club is volunteering at Tops and is covering Friday evenings and Saturday between 2 and 8 p.m., Miller explained, noting Salvation Army volunteers are covering evening time slots from Monday through Thursday. The fundraising goal per hour is $50 and, for the season, it is $120,000.
At Tops Friendly Markets, which is the location for the Salvation Army kettle campaign on Grand Island, the store has limited the bell ringers to one per door.
“We’ve got Rotary slots that our club is trying to fill, and the Salvation Army has their time slots,” Miller said, explaining she is looking for individuals to fill time slots that remain uncovered, which include weekdays and Saturday morning. “Volunteers don’t have to handle money or anything. We’re recommending that they spread holiday cheer, stand by the kettle, and have the people put the money in themselves. There is a QR code on the sign so that people can donate electronically via their phone and by pulling up the website. Bell ringers are needed from now until Christmas Eve.”
Tops is the location on Grand Island for the red kettle campaign, and people who shop off the Island will also see bell ringers at Wegmans and Wal-Mart, Miller said.
Money raised in the annual fundraiser goes to fund Salvation Army services in Tonawanda, North Tonawanda, Amherst and Grand Island. Services include toys and food for needy families, as well as a summer camp for children.
Salvation Army Lt. Bassey Archibong explained, “We also provide clothing and small practical gifts. Throughout the year, the Tonawanda Salvation Army provides specific programs to help the poor and the needy. We have the food pantry that runs from Monday through Friday.”
The Salvation Army provides services to approximately 300 families per month and, in the course of a year, helps more than 70,000 families, Archibong said.
If you’d like to be a bell ringer, you can register at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080A4DA8AE2AAAFB6-salvation1.
“The link is dynamic, and people register through the links for time slots. I did try to go to the organizations. At least this year, they didn’t pick up on advertising it to their members,” Miller said. “We are just looking for individuals who are interested in helping.”
If you have questions for the Rotary Club of Grand Island about the Red Kettle campaign, contact Miller at 716-417-4937.