Bell ringing is in full swing in Superior. The Salvation Army of Superior kicked off its kettle campaign Nov. 2 and ringers have been sharing holiday cheer at the Harbor Town and Oakes Avenue Super One Foods stores as well as the Salvation Army Thrift Store at 1705 Belknap St.
Captain Jasen Elcombe said the kettles came out a week early this year in part to make up for the shorter time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when additional bell ringing sites will be set up at Walmart and Walgreens. It also prevented a conflict between the kettle kickoff and the distribution of coats from the annual coat drive, which took place Nov. 6-8.
People no longer need cash in their pockets to donate this season. A QR code on the kettle signs allows passers-by to donate online with Google Pay or Apple Pay.
“You don’t have to worry about carrying cash; you can still make a donation,” thrift store manager Tara Jacobson said.
The Salvation Army aims to raise $65,000 during the holiday season. Elcombe said 83 cents out of every dollar goes toward local programming — the food pantry, rental and utility assistance and more. It’s not just a seasonal gift.
“What’s given this time of year helps people all year-round,” Elcombe said.
The key to boosting donations is having bell ringers by the kettles. People notice them and feel more comfortable donating because they know it’s safe.
“The difference is night and day,” Elcombe said. “When you have somebody standing at the kettles, you have more donations coming in.”
He encouraged bell ringers to dress up in costume or sing carols as they volunteer.
One Grinch has already made a negative impact on donations. On Oct. 22, staff at the thrift store realized the small counter kettle, which they keep out year-round for donations, had been stolen.
“It’s really saddening that someone had to do that,” Jacobson said.
The money that was taken would have gone to the community, she said. It was unknown how much cash was in the kettle. Jacobson asked people to be on the lookout for the small red bucket.
“It would be nice to get the kettle back,” she said.
Bell ringers can sign up at RegisterToRing.com or call Elcombe at 715-969-7345. The online system lets users check out the full list of times and locations. Volunteers can sign up for two-hour increments between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. six days a week.
Visit The Salvation Army of Superior Facebook page for more information on programs and donation opportunities.
- The Salvation Army is currently taking signups for holiday food baskets and the Toys for Tots program from 10 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays through Dec. 13. People can sign up for the Adopt-a-Family program through Nov. 22 during the same hours. Only Douglas County residents are eligible. Participants must bring a photo ID, a current piece of mail with their name and address and birth certificates for each child in the household.
- Food baskets will be distributed Dec. 20.
- Toys for Tots will be distributed Dec. 21-22.
- Close to 1,000 coats were collected during the annual coat drive and about 500 individuals stopped by to pick one up. The remaining coats went to the Salvation Army Thrift Store. Anyone in need of a coat can still get one. Stop by the Salvation Army at 916 Hughitt Ave. and ask for a free coat voucher, which can be used at the thrift store.
- Free coats are also available on the rack in front of Sutherland Flawless CBD, 1613 Tower Ave.