Volunteers needed to help with annual Red Kettle Campaign
CAMBRIDGE — The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign is in full swing across the MidShore and the organization needs volunteers to ring the bells and greet shoppers.
The Mid-Shore chapter’s fundraising goal is $90,000 this year, $10,000 above last year’s goal. The red kettles are stationed at the Cambridge Walmart, Denton Walmart and Easton’s Acme and Giant. There also will be locations rotating at various locations in Federalsburg, St. Michael’s, Centreville and Stevensville.
According to Salvation Army Captain Aaron Abram, 83 cents of every dollar raised is used for direct assistance for those in need.
“Here on the Mid-Shore, donations to the Red Kettles benefit the communities where the donations are given,” Abram said.
“The Salvation Army uses red kettle funds at Christmas time to provide food, clothing and toys to children and seniors. Funds are also used throughout the year for homelessness prevention through rental and utility assistance programs,” he said. “They are also used to provide food, clothing and shelter throughout the year including through our emergency homeless shelter — the only one in the area open 365 days a year.”
Abram said the need for volunteers is greater this year than in years past. The Mid-Shore chapter mission is “Bringing Hope to Maryland’s Mid-Shore, One Life at a Time.” Volunteers are needed to make that mission successful and ensure that help is given to any neighbor in need.
“We have hired people to stand kettles for us, but unfortunately, this year we are not seeing a very high response for people applying to ring,” he said. “In part we think this is good because we want to believe that it means people have been able to find work, but it also makes it very difficult for us to raise the funds we need.
“We feel that when we hire someone to ring for us and pay them, even minimum wage, it means that they will be able to have a brighter Christmas with their families,” he said. “However, only kettles that are set up raise funds, and unfortunately, most days we have more in the shed than in front of stores. That is where volunteers come in. We hope to someday get to a point where we are 90 percent or more volunteer.”
The Mid-Shore chapter works hard to limit their over- head costs across all of their assistance programs, which allows more of the money raised to go toward helping people in need, Abram said. Volunteers are vital to the mission, especially considering the very small staff that is responsible for covering a five-county area here.
“It is most helpful if a volunteer can cover an entire shift,” Abram said. “This is best done by working together with friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, civic clubs, church groups etc. and breaking up the time.
Abram said ringing a bell for The Salvation Army is a great way to give back to the community “and it is a lot of fun.” It encourages parents to bring their children along “to teach them the joy and importance of giving back and doing something for others, especially this time of the year,” he said.
The Red Kettle Campaign runs through Christmas Eve, and kettles are set out from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Volunteers are asked to stand a minimum of two hours. To volunteer call 410-228-2442. Natalie Ruark or Captain Abram will help volunteers find a date, time, and location that will work.
Cambridge Police Chief Daniel Dvorak, left, and Rescue Fire Company Chief Brian Willey stand next to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle last year to promote the 2015 Red Kettle Drive.