PRINCETON — The Princeton Salvation Army's annual bell-ringing "Red Kettle" campaign begins Nov. 22, and there's a need for volunteers to ring bells and collect donations at local businesses.
"We can't do what we do without the help of volunteers… we depend on folks to help us out so we can help others," Princeton Salvation Army Captain Chris Marques said. "If you don't have a person there at the kettle, people just don't put the money in, but when you have someone there, it makes all the difference."
The Salvation Army's fundraising goal for the Red Kettle campaign this year is $40,000, after raising $39,978.29 last Christmas season.
Marques said bell ringers will be at local businesses from Friday, Nov. 22, through Christmas Eve, to raise funds. Locations include the Princeton IGA, Rural King, Save-A-Lot and WalMart, Oakland City IGA, Haubstadt's Holiday Foods and Fort Branch Fastbreak Convenience Store.
"I'm sure sometimes people get tired of hearing that bell ring, but it does ring for a good cause," Marques said. "The kettle fundraiser is probably our number one fundraiser for the entire year."
Money raised helps the organization offer social services, including a soup kitchen, food pantry, clothing vouchers, yard sales, and other programs.
The money also supports the Salvation Army's Christmas food baskets and toy baskets. The final sign up date for the toy baskets is Thursday, Nov. 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. Children 12 and younger qualify for the toy baskets. Marques said those interested in signing for toy baskets should bring their identification, birth certificate of the children and proof of income to the Salvation Army on the signup date.
For those interested in volunteering or who are already signed up to volunteer, Marques shares this tip: "Don't look at your watch, because it seems to make the time go slower," he said. "Instead look at the people, make eye contact, make a smile and wish them a happy holiday… engage with the people and your time will go by a lot faster."
To volunteer, contact Marques at 812-664-0427 or visit www.RegisterToRing.com.