The Salvation Army’s signature red kettles will return to Delaware County on Nov. 14 when the organization opens its donation campaign for the 2015 Christmas season.
Capt. Mark Larrick, commander and pastor of the Delaware Worship and Community Center, said the Salvation Army’s goal is to raise $100,000 through the red kettle campaign. He said the donations secured during the Christmas effort help fund programs year round.
“This time of year is very important for our overall budget, so that we can send to kids to camp, so that we can help folks who are in those crisis situations,” Larrick said.
Each kettle will be equipped with a QR code reader to help facilitate the donation process.
“We recognize that these days a lot of folks don’t carry cash,” Larrick said. “So even if someone does not carry cash to make a donation, they can still make a donation.”
While Larrick said the Salvation Army always welcomes and encourages volunteer bell ringers to man the kettles, the organization also employs individuals to take donations at kettle locations, using the opportunity to help educate people who may have been out of the labor force for whatever reason.
“One of the things we look at with the hiring of the bell ringers is wanting to teach people how to hold down a regular job,” he said. “Granted, it is a seasonal employment opportunity, but it allows people to reintegrate into the job market.”
Larrick said the Salvation Army will provide basic instruction such as how to present oneself to a potential employer and the importance of arriving to work on time.
“Our hope, our goal is that there’s confidence built for those that come to us and get that seasonal job,” he said. “We want them to be able to go and look for regular employment after the season’s over.”
The paid bell ringers also help the Salvation Army ensure that red kettle locations will be manned.
“We need to be at those stands as often as possible,” Larrick said. “And to fill in those spaces in between volunteers, we do need to hire folks. We utilize those hires as job training.”
Larrick said that in his experience with the Salvation Army, he has witnessed several success stories that have evolved from people who started out as season bell ringers.
“We have seen those cases where they have felt that encouragement and they went and they applied and they got a regular job in a factory or somewhere else,” he said. “It’s those little bursts that are very encouraging. There are also folks who come to us and just want a little bit of extra pocket money for Christmas. They may already have a job somewhere else, but they need a few hours here and there. We’re very thankful for any and all help that we receive. We also want to give as much help as we can to those folks as far job guidance is concerned.”
The Salvation Army pays bell ringers minimum wage. Applications are currently being accepted at the Salvation Army office located at 340 Lake St. in Delaware. For information, call 740-369-5301.
Andrew Carter can be reached at 740-413-0902 and on Twitter @AndrewCarterDG.