Requests to ring: Salvation Army still needs more drive volunteersPublished 10:41am Thursday, November 21, 2013
The ringing has been pretty quiet, but the Austin Salvation Army hopes that changes within the next few weeks during this year’s kettle drive.
The annual kettle drive, which kicked off Nov. 15 with just a few bell ringers in Austin, will continue this Friday and Saturday and then operate every day from Black Friday to 3 p.m. Christmas Eve, except on Sundays.
In its first two days, Nov. 15 and 16, bell ringers collected $1,421. This year’s goal, like last year’s, is $60,000. Last year, the drive raised $56,400, just $100 short of 2011’s drive.
Volunteer coordinator Kris Maier is crossing her fingers for more volunteers to run the kettles, as not all locations have been filled. Thus far, 978 hours of ringing at the numerous locations in Austin have been reserved. However, 986 hours remain open for registration.
The first weekend, bell ringers were at Shopko, Hy-Vee and Sterling Main. But Maier needs plenty of help at the other locations when the campaign gets in full swing, including both doors at Walmart, Jim’s MarketPlace and Walgreens.
“We’re really struggling to get people at Jim’s MarketPlace and Walgreens,” Maier said.
Signing up, Maier added, is easier than ever. The first year of online volunteer registration is available at registertoring.com.
Users can click on the location they want, pick a date range and see what is available. For example, 6 to 8 p.m. is still available at Jim’s MarketPlace this Friday, along with 10 other time slots.
When volunteers click on time slots they want, they receive a confirmation and email updates about when they are supposed to ring. Or, volunteers can still call 507-437-4566 to sign up.
There are more ways for donors to give to the Salvation Army, as well. Donors don’t have to walk by the ringing bells; they can also donate online at salvationarmynorth.org/community/austin/ and clicking on the red kettle.
As always, Maier hopes businesses do their part.
“Of course, we’re hoping to get more business matches this year,” she said.
Businesses can match their locations’ kettle takes each day or for the entire drive.
As for the much-needed volunteers, the time commitment doesn’t take much, either.
“Even if people could just take two hours, it helps,” Maier said.