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Salvation Army kicks off Kettle Campaign

Michael Hyler, a volunteer bell ringer for the Salvation Army, visits with people at the kettle at Cashwise in Jamestown Thursday. Keith Norman / The Sun

How to donate:

1-800-sal-army

Or at the Red Kettles at the Buffalo Mall, Walmart, Hugos or Cashwise

The Salvation Army has kicked off its Kettle Campaign and bell ringing started yesterday - except at Walmart..The company has ruled that Salvation Army bell ringers must wait until Black Friday.

"That rule applies to every Walmart in the country," said Maj.Tim Nauta.

There's another company rule that affects bell ringing throughout the country. No ringers can be inside the store. Given the weather here, it's hard to find volunteers willing to stand outside for a two-hour shift between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

"If we could fill every shift at Walmart, we wouldn't have any problem meeting our goal," Nauta said."Walmart has the traffic and the income."

Finding volunteers to withstand the cold at Walmart is not the only Kettle Campaign problem. It's the lack of bell ringers now. Nauta said they're off to a very slow start as people are just not signing up. He attributes it to people not wanting to think about Christmas until Thanksgiving is over.

"We're desperately in need of volunteers now until Dec. 1," he said. "And after you've done it once, you'll want to do it again during the campaign."

The goal this year is $168,000. Nauta said last year they met their goal of $158,000.

"We raised the goal this year because we want to reopen the game room," he said. "We want a safe place for kids to hang out after school. There's definitely a need for it."

There is still a lot of planning to do and details to work out as that they want to provide a safe, structured place for kids. It all depends on whether the extra $10,000 can be raised.

The Kettle Campaign and mail/walk-in donation amounts are half and half, Nauta said. However, it's not the only way.

There are two other ways to give now or at any time. One is by calling 1-800-sal-army (725-2769). Your credit card zip code sends the money directly to Jamestown. The other is by going online to www.salvationarmynorth.org/jamestown.