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Bell ringers needed: Salvation Army needs help at Walmart

A few weeks into the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign, the people of Becker County are showing their kindness.

Red Kettle Campaign chair Michele Baker said a week ago the balance was over $11,000, with nearly four weeks left in the campaign. The campaign runs through the Friday after Christmas, Dec. 27.

“We should have a good campaign,” Baker said.

Last year, the Red Kettle Campaign raised over $39,000 in Becker County, which was up quite a bit from previous years. Before that, the campaign saw about  $32,000.

And all that money stays local.

Money from the Red Kettle Campaign provides assistance to a long list of beneficiaries in Becker County. It includes emergency assistance; energy assistance; various special projects like stocking the shelves at the Becker County Food Pantry with diapers and wipes, the Back to School Project, which provided school supplies for children in Becker County schools that don’t have the necessary supplies, the Winter Gear project, which provided the county’s less fortunate families with jackets, boots, mittens, etc., and the Nursing Home project, which provides area nursing home residents with a special gift at Christmas time.

Kettles are set up at Walmart, Kmart, Central Market, L&M Fleet and Washington Square Mall.

One of the largest needs for the Red Kettle Campaign is bell ringers at the Walmart location.

While it’s understandable that many people who agree to volunteer their time want to stay warm while they ring, Walmart brings in a large profit for the campaign. Baker said it’s difficult to find volunteers who are willing to stand outside in the Minnesota cold, though.

Walmart won’t allow bells ringers inside the building. The store also won’t allow an empty kettle to sit; there has to be a ringer there at all times the kettle is out.

“We raised nearly $2,000 at Walmart while the Boy Scouts were ringing,” Baker said. “We truly miss a tremendous opportunity when we can’t get ringers at Walmart.”

 Anyone interested in volunteering their time to ring the Salvation Army bell for the Red Kettle Campaign – regardless of the location – can contact Michele Baker at 218-846-0379 or 218-234-9414.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.