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Connellsville/Scottdale Salvation Army unit seeks Kettle Drive volunteers

| Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, 6:18 p.m.

The Salvation Army's 2013 Red Kettle kickoff has officially begun.

Organizers need volunteers to help.

Starting Nov. 29 (Black Friday) and continuing through Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve), groups, organizations, families or individuals will be ringing the bells at the well-known red kettles to benefit the local Salvation Armies.

“This is a shorter kettle season than other years, due to the fact that there are only four weeks to ring rather than five, so we really need to step it up this year. We hope that everyone will be in a volunteering spirit and we hope shoppers also will be in a giving spirit when they pass by,” said Mary McKnight, director with the Connellsville/Scottdale service center.

The local goal is $40,000. McKnight said that is higher than last year.

The funds raised by the Salvation Army ringers are used for direct social services such as preventing utility termination, emergency fuel assistance, emergency food, eviction notices, summer camp, Project Bundle Up and a back-to-school program that helps needy kids obtain new clothes for school. General donations throughout the year are important to the Salvation Army to address these needs. Groups who donate the proceeds from their fundraisers are appreciated, McKnight said.

“As we continue to raise funds, we hope to develop new programs that will help our communities and be a blessing to those in need. We have a thermometer in the window of our Connellsville office that we color in as our donations come in, so as the public drives by, they can see how we're doing,” said McKnight.

Kettle chairpersons are Beth Shreve for Connellsville and Maria Nascimben for Scottdale.

“We are hoping that folks will sign up now so we can get the schedule filled,” said Nascimben.

“We are planning a little holiday party for our volunteers to be held in January. We are so appreciative of their efforts. We know there are times when they stand in inclement weather. It's a way for us to say thank you,” said Nascimben.

Nascimben said volunteers who sign up through her for Scottdale and Mt. Pleasant will have a chance to win a Black and Gold basket. She said they will get a raffle ticket for each time they ring.

Volunteers are asked to sign up by calling Nascimben at 724-984-5487 for Scottdale and Mt. Pleasant and Shreve at 724-984-2890 for Connellsville.

“We encourage everyone to help ring the bell. Two people at a time is preferred, so sign up with a friend if you like. We have some folks who will ring every day for a week. We have a few individuals who will come fill a time slot at the last minute when we are short-handed but we count on volunteers to keep their commitment and know that their time spent is appreciated by us and ultimately by those in need. We really count on our volunteers. Our board members are good about finding volunteers,” said Nascimben

Those who sign up to ring the bell at the red kettle include couples, siblings, mom and dad with their kids, co-workers, civic and service organization members, clubs and social organizations. Some volunteers are those who have been helped in the past by the Salvation Army and want to give back. Community service hours are offered through this program.

“We provide little bells for children who are helping an adult ring. We also offer candy canes and copies of our magazine, War Cry, to those who donate and want them. Groups of volunteers sometimes sing carols as they ring and shoppers really enjoy that,” said Nascimben.

The locations for red kettle ringing are Connellsville Wal-mart, Connellsville Shop ‘n Save, Mt. Pleasant Wal-mart, Mt. Pleasant Kmart, Scottdale Bank and Trust Scottdale Branch and Brilhart Ace Hardware in Scottdale.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.

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