Salvation Army campaign expected to surpass goalEvery morning from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, Willie Kamletz, 87, and sometimes his wife Geneva Kamletz, 94, could be found inside County Market, ringing a bell for the Salvation Army. “I had a ball, a lot of fun doing it, and by golly it’s better than sitting around the house doing nothing,” Willie Kamletz said.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Every morning from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, Willie Kamletz, 87, and sometimes his wife Geneva Kamletz, 94, could be found inside County Market, ringing a bell for the Salvation Army.
“I had a ball, a lot of fun doing it, and by golly it’s better than sitting around the house doing nothing,” Willie Kamletz said.
The Kamletzes were just two of the 200 or so volunteers who rang the bells and contributed to the most successful kettle campaign in the history of the Salvation Army in Jamestown, said Maj. Harold Baugh.
“I think we’ll go well over $100,000 when it’s all said and done,” Baugh said.
Mail-in donations still need to be tabulated at the Minneapolis office but Baugh expects the $90,000 goal to be surpassed.
From 8:30 to 10 a.m. when Kamletz volunteered, he believes he helped raise an extra $1,000. Normally bell ringers are not supposed to start until 10 a.m. but Kamletz knew there were early morning shoppers.
The kettles alone brought in $64,740, which is up from $46,317 at this time last year.
Regular volunteers, churches and service clubs all took turns ringing bells at the four Jamestown locations — County Market, Hugo’s, Kmart and Walmart — Baugh said.
Donations at Walmart were at $10,000 compared to $2,000 last year, and ringing for the first time at Hugo’s helped contribute to the most successful campaign, he said.
The groundwork and planning by Majs. Tim and Barb Miller, who previously ran the Salvation Army here, also made this campaign a success, Baugh said. Service clubs made a difference too, he added.
The Jamestown Lions Club, Kiwanis and Rotary Club collectively donated more than $20,000 to the campaign.
The Lions donated the most out of the three by bell ringing, soliciting friends and sending “rovers” to Jamestown bars to collect donations, said Dwaine Heinrich, former Lions president.
“We’ve done this (fundraising) every year as far back as I can remember,” Heinrich said.
Heinrich credits part of the campaign’s success to the Salvation Army for having such a presence in Jamestown during the spring flooding.
“I’m just pleased to see it went very well,” he said.
Donations ranged from spare change to an anonymous $5,000 cash donation, Baugh said. A number of checks from $5 to $500 were also given, he said.
The money raised will go to support a number of programs that benefit people in Jamestown.
Social services, assistance with paying for utilities, rent to keep people from becoming homeless, a youth program and a summer day camp all will receive part of the donations, Baugh said.
The food pantry will also receive money, which Baugh said is good because he expects the upcoming months to have a record demand for food. More than 100 boxes of food already go out each month.
The Angel Tree program also went well with 250 children receiving gifts.
“We’re really amazed, not surprised but pleased with the results,” Baugh said of the Christmas donations.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at email@example.com