Red Kettle money collected in Fallon stays in Fallon

Francie Lee, left, and Samantha Lamb volunteer as bell ringers for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle program.

Francie Lee, left, and Samantha Lamb volunteer as bell ringers for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle program.

Money collected from the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle program stays in Churchill County to assist people with their needs, said the director for Fallon.

Chris Miller, associate pastor for 13 years at First Southern Baptist Church and an active member of the Fallon Ministerial Association who oversees the group’s funds, wants to ensure local residents that any donated money given to the Salvation Army remains in Fallon.

“Everything we collect in Fallon stays in Fallon,” Miller emphasized Thursday in an interview with the LVN.

Across the nation, the Salvation Army’s Red Kettles program and Walmart are partners to solicit funds during the holiday. Miller said three-member teams man the kettles at Fallon Walmart for two-hour shifts.

“We’re always looking for volunteers to help, and they come from all walks of life,” he said. “We have bell ringers who have been clients in the past and now they can give back. We also have volunteers from First Southern filling those slots.”

He added that volunteers from other churches have also donated their time.

With Christmas soon approaching, Miller said donations are down about 20 percent. The Salvation Army and other charity organizations have had only three weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas to ring for money — or six fewer days than in previous years, said Miller. Despite a drop in donations, Miller said the Fallon community has been great with their generosity.

Miller said he also wants to clarify any misconceptions regarding the Salvation Army’s “Fill the Truck” toy campaign, which is also a national partnership with Walmart. Since Miller’s work falls under the Sacramento extension of the Salvation Army, he was unaware the Reno office set up toy collection boxes in Fallon.

“I would like people to know the Salvation Army service extension based in Fallon had nothing to do with toy collections and in fact, told them (Reno) not to collect toys here,” he added.

Miller said he has talked to his supervisor in Sacramento and received permission to collect the toys at Walmart for distribution to the Fallon Toys for Tots and Wishing Tree programs.

“They won’t leave Fallon,” Miller said. “I have the blessing of the service extension coordinators out of Sacramento.”

Miller is passionate about the work the Salvation Army does for needy people. He said the Salvation Army is available 365 days a year for the people of Churchill County. He said the local extension assists people with food and utilities; lodging of fire victims, transients or people stuck in freezing temperatures; and gasoline to help people drive to job interviews, doctor’s appointments or their jobs.

He said Churchill County Social Services and FRIENDS Resource Center refer many people to the Salvation Army. Miller, though, said individuals may also call the local Salvation Army for assistance at 775-423-9220.

He said volunteers staff the telephone around the clock.

“Bless their hearts they answer the phone at 2 or 3 in the morning,” Miller said.


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