Kettles ring in holidays, need for volunteers
By the time early-bird shoppers head out on Black Friday, red kettles staffed by voluntary bell ringers will be visible in Connellsville and Scottdale.
As people open their wallets to purchase holiday gifts, they are asked to be generous with the needy as well.
Mary McKnight oversees the Salvation Army units for both communities from the agency's new office at 300 W. Crawford Ave., Connellsville.
Kettles will be placed at the Wal-Marts in Dunbar Township and Mt. Pleasant; at Shop ‘n Save in Connellsville,; K-Mart in Mt. Pleasant; and Scottdale Bank and Trust.
A kettle will be available at Brilhart Ace hardware store in Scottdale only on Saturdays.
“We are shooting (to raise) $30,000 this year,” McKnight said of the unit's goal.
McKnight said she hopes to have the kettles staffed daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., depending on the number of volunteers available for shifts.
“I am looking for groups, clubs and businesses to volunteer,” she said.
McKnight hopes to be able to keep the bells ringing through Christmas Eve.
Those interested in helping can call McKnight at 724-628-2010. The kettle contact for Connellsville is Beth Shreves at 724-984-2890. Kailyn Robertucci is handling Scottdale volunteers at 724-689-3013.
“We want to remind people that the Salvation Army in Connellsville is no longer located at the Greater Connellsville Community Center,” McKnight said.
The unit relocated to the West Crawford Avenue address in October, but some people have gone to the former address to sign up for Operation Santa Claus or the Salvation Army's Treasures for Children program.
A final sign-up for holiday programs will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Connellsville site, McKnight said.
To date, 250 families have signed up for the grocery bags, filled with all of the fixings for a festive holiday meal.
McKnight encouraged residents and businesses to participate in the Treasures for Children program by picking up tags at the office.
“We have close to 300 children signed up,” she said.
Donated toys must be brought to the Connellsville site by Dec. 7.
The local office is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays.
In addition to its kettle drive, donations are accepted by mailing checks to: Salvation Army, 300 W. Crawford Ave., Connellsville, Pa. 15425.
Mt. Pleasant Service Unit Chairman, the Rev. Dale Porterfield, said 300 children are signed up to receive toys through its Treasures for Children program.
He said the unit didn't set a fundraising goal this year.
“It's just been a harsh year, I think, for everyone,” Porterfield said.
Kettle locations include County Market, Open Pantry in Norvelt and various other sites throughout the borough and township.
Hours and days depend on the number of volunteers.
Those willing to ring the bell at a kettle can call Porterfield at 724-547-5042.
O'Rourke Cut Glass & Gifts is sponsoring a toy drive at its Mt. Pleasant Glass Center location.
Next to the drop-off box is a Christmas tree adorned with 20 wish-list tags for children's gifts.
Visitors to Overly's Country Christmas also can drop off gifts for the campaign.
Other businesses with Treasures for Children tags include Wal-Mart, Diamond Pharmacy, Smilie's Restaurant, S&T Banks in Mt. Pleasant and East Huntingdon and several area churches and other organizations.
Donations to the Mt. Pleasant Salvation Army unit's Christmas campaign can be sent to 511 S. Church St., Mt. Pleasant, Pa., 15666.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.