T he local arm of a charitable effort that raised several thousand dollars for people in need is poised to help even more people this year.
Bell ringers for the annual Salvation Army red kettle campaign will soon be out again in Whitehall and Granville, “Doing the Most Good.”
Last year’s bell-ringing campaign, which was the first of its type held in Granville, collected more than $5,000. Nearly that entire amount — 90 percent — helped people from Granville, Whitehall and Hampton, with necessities, such as food, prescription medicines, heating assistance, backpacks, rent, utility payments, assistance for a family whose belongings were destroyed in a fire and more.
And with the need expected to be even greater this year, organizers plan to expand the effort into Whitehall as well as increase the number of locations in Granville.
“We expect even more requests for help, especially when it comes to things like fuel oil,” said. The Rev. Jim Peterson, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Whitehall, the Granville Baptist Church, and one of eight committee members who organizes the fundraiser locally.
Organizers plan to add an extra kettle in a to-be-determined location in Granville, which will be in addition to a kettle at Price Chopper. They will also have one at Green Mountain Marketplace on Smith Street in Whitehall
“We certainly hope to hit $5,000 again and the with the added bell ringing stations, we might as well shoot for $10,000 because there is that much need, or at least we certainly anticipate that much need,” said Peterson.
Approximately 30 people and several different organizations, including local churches, Scouts, school groups and the CWI volunteered last year to collect money.
“Last year we did very well getting volunteers. It was kind of amazing,” Peterson said. “It’s been a real good community-wide effort with people from the Lions and other service organizations helping. It hasn’t been just one group or church,” Peterson said.
Organizers are hoping to enlist even more volunteers this year and are looking for anyone who is available from 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. Other times can also be arranged.
“It’s a good way for the young people to do some community service,” said Peterson.
“Doing the Most Good” is the motto for the Salvation Army and refers to the idea of using the limited money available to do the most good possible for the most people possible.
The red kettles are the Salvation Army’s primary fundraiser.
“It’s empowering to see through a community’s generosity, the Salvation Army is able to respond quickly to those in need. Every holiday season, I’m humbled by the fact that residents in our area are so eager to give people in need the chance to rebuild their lives,” said Forrest Kimball, a field representative of the Salvation Army in northern New York.
Besides the bell ringing, there are also several “mini” kettles up year around in several stores in the area — an effort they began earlier this year — that have raised a few hundred dollars in the couple of months they’ve been there.
This year’s bell ringing campaign is expected to begin this week. Anyone who would like to volunteer is encouraged to call Peterson at 642-2245, or email Laura McDermott at [email protected]