The Salvation Army in Herkimer will kick-off its Red Kettle Campaign on Saturday, and are hoping to find an influx of volunteers to help with their efforts.
The 2013 “Kettle Kick Off” will be held at 10 a.m. in front of Hummel’s Office Supply located at 114 West Albany Street, Herkimer. This annual kickoff will serve as an announcement to the community that the standing red kettles, ringing of bells and counter kettles will soon be located at various businesses throughout local towns and villages.
All community members are invited to join the staff, volunteers and advisory board for this brief celebration and are welcome to help donate to the first of several standing red kettles this holiday season.
Lt. John Wood, who along with his wife, Lt. Lori Wood, are Herkimer corps officers, said during a telephone interview last week they want to “get as many volunteers as we can.”
Wood said last week he was still trying to firm up all the locations they would have ringers at this year. He said they hope to have a total of six locations in the village of Herkimer, which would be two more than last year.
Volunteers would work three-hour shifts Monday through Saturday. Wood said they’re not planning on having ringers out on Sundays. The corps is looking for individual volunteers or a group of volunteers to help with their bell ringing.
Wood said the Red Kettle Campaign funds the chapter for the entire year.
“The funding helps support the programs going on inside the building,” he said, also noting it helps with heating and electric costs.
The campaign is starting at the end of what has been a challenging year for some area residents.
“The need is definitely greater this year,” said Wood. “We had quite a few more people come in that we would normally see, due to the disaster and the government issues going on.”
Wood said the Salvation Army served roughly 2,300 meals from their food pantry last month at its 431 N. Prospect St. location.
Among the emergencies the Salvation Army responded to this year were the evacuation of homes and businesses in the vicinity of the March 13 shooting standoff on North Main Street. The Salvation Army, a block away from where the standoff occurred, was at first on lockdown. It then opened to serve 68 meals to displaced residents, which included seven children.
The Salvation Army also assisted residents affected by the June 28 flooding.
“I think the best evidence of the importance [of the Salvation Army] is that everybody got to see them when we had the flood,” said Jim Skinner, of Herkimer, during a telephone interview Wednesday.
Page 2 of 2 - Both he and his wife, Liz Skinner, have been Salvation Army volunteers for more than 15 years.
Liz Skinner said in a letter to The Telegram the Salvation Army had six canteens, or mobile feeding trucks, and a kitchen-trailer, plus the kitchen at the Herkimer corps to assist residents in need at that time. She said thousands of lunches and dinners were distributed to affected residents and workers.
Liz Skinner also said the Salvation Army distributed tons of bottled water, cleaning supplies, snacks, hygiene kits and coffee to those affected by the flooding.
She also said hundreds of Salvation Army volunteers came in from parts of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts to assist at that time.
Jim Skinner noted how the Salvation Army facility on North Prospect Street was also affected by the flooding.
“This flooded place was turned into a nerve center of relief,” he said. “This gave people something to eat when they were mucking out their basement for the third time.”
Besides the shooting and the flooding, Wood said issues with the government, which include the recent partial federal government shutdown and the farm bill still waiting to be passed in Congress, have affected area residents.
Wood said, “The key thing is we’re aiming to collect as much as we can to assist as many people as we can.”
Anyone or any group that is interested in volunteering may contact the corps at 866-1240. Wood said to leave a message if no one is available to answer the telephone.