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Red kettles count on enthusiastic bell ringers

Sara Hove and Abby Koehn ring bells for the Salvation Army at Family Fresh in River Falls. Submitted photo1 / 2
Rhoda Foley, Heather, Johnson, Jacob Johnson, and Shane Johnson ring Salvation Army bells in Ellsworth. Photo courtesy of Deanna Hines2 / 2

With the holiday season approaching, we will soon hear the ringing of the Salvation Army Bells beckoning shoppers to drop coins, bills and checks into the waiting Red Kettles staffed with area volunteers giving their time to ring bells.

This year's Pierce County Red Kettle campaign will begin on Nov. 23 and run through Dec. 22. Bells will be located at various businesses in River Falls and Ellsworth, and will help all Pierce County communities, including the River Falls area. Last year's Kettle Campaign brought in $24,022. This year our goal is $35,000. Of the amount raised, 86 percent stays right here in Pierce County. Money raised will help residents in need with things such as rent, utilities, transportation and food. Please keep in mind, funds donated outside of Pierce County stay in the county in which they are donated, so please be mindful of where you make your donation.

Pierce County Red Kettle Campaign Coordinators Deanna Hines and Margaret Volenec will be looking for over 150 volunteers to sign up and ring bells. We have approximately 300 two-hour shifts between the two cities. We encourage small groups and families to sign up and ring together. Some groups that have helped out in the past include the Lions, 4-H, Boy Scouts, church groups and school groups It has also been a fun tradition for some groups and families to dress up and sing and be in the holiday spirit!

"There is something to be said for fun and safety in numbers!" said Hines and Volenec. "It is a rewarding way to give back plus besides just bringing in donations, people love to be greeted when they walk into the stores and see the excitement the bell ringers generate."

In the Ellsworth area, shifts will be available at The Ellsworth Coop Creamery and Nilssen's Family Foods on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23, 24 and Saturdays in December from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In the River Falls area, shifts will be available at Family Fresh and Shopko on Friday, Nov. 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 24 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Then starting the last Friday of November (Nov. 30) shifts will be available every Friday from 3—7 p.m. and every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Dec. 22.

If you have a special group that would like to ring bells outside the shifts available or if you would like to make a specific donation directly to the Salvation Army outside of the kettles, please contact Hines or Volenec.

Achieving this year's goal of $35,000 would not be possible without the donors, or the dedicated people who volunteer to ring bells. On behalf of the Salvation Army, Hines and Volenec are thankful to all of you who support Pierce County communities in whatever way you can!!

If you are interested in ringing the bells this season, you may sign up online at registertoring.com to secure your shifts or call the coordinator for the area where you would like to ring.

For more information on ringing bells or donating in River Falls, contact Hines at 612-987-9584 or by email at pcsakettlecoordinator@gmail.com

For more information on ringing bells or donating in Ellsworth, contact Volenec at 612-644-4452 or by email at margaret_volenec@yahoo.com

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