It’s that time of year again! It’s the time we start seeing ads on TV with holiday music playing in the background, and stores aiming to please by offering great deals and “the lowest prices of the season.” It’s the time when we see people buying ham, turkey, and a variety of baking ingredients to prepare their holiday meals and treats. It’s the time when we can feel the freezing temperatures outside, and smell the pine needles on the newly decorated tree throughout the house. It’s also the time of year we start to hear bells ringing in the lobbies of many department stores, grocery stores, and even movie theaters.
For many of us, we would probably consider everything mentioned above part of our holiday tradition each year. However, what about families who are less fortunate? The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign starts in mid-November each year and typically ends December 24th. Stations with a red kettle, red apron, and bells are set up all over locally, and anyone 16 or older can volunteer two hours or more of their time to ring the bell and help raise money for Christmas dinners, clothing, toys, and other aid for families in need.
The Red Kettle Station at Festival has been set up for the last few weeks, and we have had several bell ringers throughout each day. Some families come in dressed up in Santa hats and other holiday gear, other individuals bring musical instruments to play during their two hours, and occasionally a chorus group will sign up and sing Christmas carols for a few hours! We have noticed that people are much more likely to make a donation when there is someone ringing the bell, singing Christmas carols, and playing music, versus when there is a red kettle just hanging at the bell ringing station.
How are we doing our part at Festival to help our local community? Any time the Red Kettle station is unoccupied, we try to send a Festival employee to the cart lobby to ring the bell for awhile. We look for individuals who are smiley, outgoing, and excited to help the community. Some of us have also signed up to be bell ringers either before or after our shifts (pictured are Samm and Jordan, two Neenah employees). It is convenient that our workplace is a location for the Red Kettle campaign, and it is a rewarding feeling to see how much is donated by people walking by in two short hours. Community involvement is one of our five values at Festival Foods, and participating in the Red Kettle Campaign is the perfect community involvement opportunity to support local families in need.
In order for the Red Kettle Campaign to be successful this year, the Salvation Army needs approximately 25,000 volunteers nationwide. There are still many time slots open at various locations in the following markets: Eau Claire, La Crosse, Marshfield, Green Bay, the Fox Valley, Manitowoc, and Sheboygan. If you are interested in volunteering two hours of your time for this great cause, go to www.ringbells.org.