For whom the bell rings
The High Country Salvation Army recently held a volunteer appreciation dinner to kick off this year's Red Kettle Campaign.
The Red Kettle Campaign utilizes volunteer "bell ringers" at three locations in Watauga to collect money to fund Salvation Army assistance programs.
The High Country/Greater Hickory Corps served more than 25,000 people in 2008, provided 110,896 meals and distributed 17,656 toys during the Christmas season.
The regional corps serves Watauga, Avery, Caldwell, Alexander, Burke, McDowell and Catawba counties.
At the dinner, volunteers from the 2008 Red Kettle Campaign were recognized:
In Watauga County, AARP members, Alpha Delta Pi sorority, Kiwanis Club of Boone, Watauga Opportunities, Rotary Club of Blowing Rock, Sunrise Rotary Club of Boone, Rotary Club of Boone, Rotaract Club from Appalachian State University, Hawksnest Ski Patrol, Alliance Bible Fellowship, Boone Church of Christ, Boone First Baptist Church, Boone United Methodist Church, Deerfield United Methodist Church and Mountain Alliance from Watauga High School.
Each group was presented with a certificate of appreciation.
Merchant partners Belk, Kmart, Lowes Foods and Walmart were also recognized for their participation in the Red Kettle Campaign.
A Cleaner World and Mast General Store were presented with certificates for their participation in the Give a Kid a Coat and Share the Warmth drives, which provided more than 800 coats to families in need last year.
Major Kent Davis, corps commander for the region, was present at the dinner.
"We are excited about the strong advisory council for the High Country," he said.
"We appreciate what you have done here and what you are going to do. When you ring that bell, it may not seem like a lot of money, but it helps people."
The locations in Avery and Watauga counties raised $26,210 last year. Those funds stayed in the High Country. Approximately 850 households received some type of financial assistance.
Volunteers are needed for this year's campaign.
The kettles will be in place Nov. 5 through Christmas Eve (except Sundays), from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Belk, Kmart, Lowes Foods at New Market Centre and Walmart.
The Belk location allows ringers to stand inside the entrance where it is heated, and benches are available to sit down for volunteers with special needs.
People can volunteer for one- or two-hour increments.
Groups may volunteer for a block of time to be divided as they wish.
"Bell Wars" can be arranged, with two groups competing to raise the most money.
For more information or to volunteer, contact advisory council chair Jerry Walker at (828) 264-8777 or via e-mail at (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The High Country Salvation Army Service Center and Family Store is located at 7979 N.C. 105 South in Boone.