Vol­un­teers needed to help with an­nual Red Ket­tle Cam­paign

Dorchester Star - - What’s Up - By VIC­TO­RIA WIN­GATE vwingate@ches­pub.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @ vic­to­ri­adorstar and on In­sta­gram @dorch­ester.star.

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.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

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.

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