Santa's helpers collect for less fortunate

They don't look like your typical elves, but they work tirelessly during the Christmas season to bring good cheer to those who need it most.

Members of Carson High School's Navy Junior ROTC brave the winter weather, dressed in full uniform, outside various stores in Carson City to collect donations for the Salvation Army.

The winter chill does not deter Krystal Paumen, 15, from donating her time. It only makes her more eager.

"You know that when you're cold, there's some people that are even colder," she said. "The more we ring the bell, the more will go to help them get warmer."

Fifteen-year-old David Wages helped collect last year and is back again this year.

"I like to do it," he said. "It's fun ringing the bells with my friends."

But he knows it's more than having a good time.

"It helps other people," Wages said. "The money that we get, we donate to the Salvation Army and they give it to the people in need."

Paumen said it can be slow sometimes, but it always picks up. She said one day they were especially slow until one woman approached them with a $75 check.

"It was funny," Paumen said. "After that, it seemed like everyone who came out of the store gave us something."

Although Wages said he enjoys volunteering - often staying for eight hours instead of the two-hour shift - he said more people should get involved.

"The more people we have doing it, the more money we'll get," he said.

Paumen agreed.

"It's the responsibility of everybody in the community to do it," she said.

Salvation Army Captain Amanda Mitchell said the money raised at Christmas not only goes to help families during the holiday season but throughout the year.

In Carson City, there are six designated spots set aside for the Christmas Kettle fund-raising campaign. The kettles stay in operation Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Volunteers work in two-hour shifts.

Mitchell said about 100 volunteers are needed each year but only about 60 sign up, most of who are members of the NJROTC.

YOU CAN HELP:

To volunteer for the Christmas Kettle fund-raising campaign, call Captain Amanda Mitchell at 887-9120.

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