Capt. Erica Helton is just getting over the rush of providing 165 Thanksgiving food baskets to needy families, and she is faced with another desperate need - bell ringers for The Salvation Army's annual Red Kettle Campaign.
"Always, we need ringers," she said. "I do not turn them down."
Helton said some of the 19 locations in the area where bell ringers are allowed are not filled every day because she does not have enough volunteers. Anyone interested in being a bell ringer can call Helton or Amy Scaffidi at The Salvation Army office at 887-9120, 9 a.m-noon and 1-3 p.m.
Helton is also putting the word out that the Celebrity Bell Ringing competition is Dec. 16. All service clubs, agencies, businesses and families who want to volunteer in the competition are encouraged to call her.
Last year Carson High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps won the competition hands down.
"We already have Kiwanis, the ROTC and several businesses working it this year, including Greater Nevada Credit Union," Helton said. "It's not surprising in some ways (ROTC won), but it doesn't mean they can't be toppled.
"They do very well for us. There's something about young people dressed up sharply in uniform this day and age that wins the appeal (of the community)."
Some of the stores bell ringers are posted at include Wal-Mart, Albertsons, Raley's, Safeway, Scolari's, Gottschalks, Sav-on, Smith's and Mervyns. Though Target is keeping with their policy of not allowing ringers, they are doing an online Angel Tree campaign for The Salvation Army.
"People can go to www.target.com, find the Salvation Army logo (red shield), and click on it to donate," Helton said.
The Salvation Army is doing its own online campaign with the Red Kettle program. For information, go to www.tsatoday.org and click on the red kettle.
"People can sponsor their own red kettle," Helton said. "Instead of standing out in the weather with a kettle, they can sponsor their own and send word to family and friends to go to the Web site to make a donation."
Appointments for Christmas assistance from The Salvation Army are booked. Helton said it seems people are having a hard time making ends meet this year, which has made her goal for the red kettle donations at $90,000. The program brought in about $82,000 last year, which Helton said made her budget a bit tight this year.
"I would love to hit $100,000 this year. I am praying God will bless us amazingly and we will reach that goal. We are working diligently to meet the needs brought to us."
Other ways to help The Salvation Army include adopting a family, sponsoring a toy or food barrel, or an Angel Tree.
"Any little bit helps," Helton said. "We learn this by experience year-in and year-out."
• Contact reporter Rhonda Costa-Landers at email@example.com or 881-1223.
You can help
WHO: The Salvation Army
WHAT: Red Kettle bell ringers
WHERE: Carson City locations
WHAT: Celebrity Bell Ringing competition
WHEN: Dec. 16