Good Life

The Salvation Army seeks volunteers for red kettle duty

The Salvation Army of State College’s red kettle program, which continues through Christmas Eve, has a goal of raising $65,000 this year.
The Salvation Army of State College’s red kettle program, which continues through Christmas Eve, has a goal of raising $65,000 this year. Centre Daily Times, file

On the road, a red traffic light means stop. During the holidays, a red kettle means more or less the same thing, only with a wallet placed somewhere into the sequence.

Volunteers with The Salvation Army of State College will be posted outside of Sam’s Club, Macy’s, Moyer Jewelers and the Wal-Mart locations on Benner Pike and North Atherton through Dec. 24.

This year, they hope to ring enough bells to raise more than $65,000 in funds for the new year.

“Donations made in the kettle help to provide year-round services and programs to residents living in Centre County. Salvation Army provides assistance to individuals and families in emergency and crisis situations,” envoy Betty Ellen Barrett said.

The specifics of that assistance range from rent and utilities to providing gifts and food for children at Christmas.

Donations made in the kettle help to provide year-round services and programs to residents living in Centre County. Salvation Army provides assistance to individuals and families in emergency and crisis situations.

Betty Ellen Barrett

Those ends require very particular means — mainly a willing and able volunteer base. Keeping the kettles covered throughout the month necessitates approximately 600 holiday helpers covering shifts that range from two to six hours.

There is, of course, some light bell ringing involved, too.

“Without volunteers, no money can be dropped into the Red Kettle because without them a kettle would not be out in front of stores,” Barrett said.

Her faith in the system has deep roots. Barrett grew up next to a Salvation Army branch in Waymart and believes that people view the red kettle as a sign of hope.

Without volunteers no money can be dropped into the Red Kettle because without them a kettle would not be out in front of stores.

Betty Ellen Barrett

At the very least it has attained the status of longstanding tradition. In 1891, Joseph McFee, a Salvation Army Captain, put the first kettle out on the streets of San Francisco. His goal was to raise enough money to provide Christmas dinner for the poor.

His success propelled kettle initiatives across the country — and eventually the globe.

“I hope people realize that when they volunteer of make a donation they are the army behind The Salvation Army and because of them The Salvation Army State College Corps can move forward,” Barrett said.

Signing up to volunteer or make a donation is easy — visit www.salvationarmystatecollege.org or call 861-1785.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

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