Storm hampers kettle donations |

Storm hampers kettle donations

Rhonda costa-landers
Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Chris Welter of Carson City rings a Salvation Army bell Thursday afternoon at the Smith's Store on Highway 50 East in Carson City.

What should have been a banner donation day for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle program turned dismal with Saturday’s storm.

Capt. Erica Helton said she took in about $800 and needs the community’s help now more than ever.

“We should have made at least $4,000 Saturday,” Helton said. “Only eight of our 30 bell ringers could make it in. The storm had a significant impact on us. We’re really feeling the pressure now.”

All this comes on top of losing Target and Mervyn’s stores and most recently Safeway, as kettle locations. This is expected to drop Helton’s donations by nearly $20,000, she said. She’s already down $5,000 from last year’s numbers for the same period.

“The average total holiday donation is about $80,000, which basically covers the cost of all our programs including Latch Key, utility assistance, emergency food shelter and others,” she said.

Staff salaries are not paid through the Red Kettle program.

“People are calling and asking how they can help. I need bell ringer volunteers. I have some very stable paid ringers, but I need volunteers.”

Helton encourages businesses to allow their employees to share shifts to ring the bell. Hours of bell ringing are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and continue until Dec. 24.

“You can take one- or two-hour shifts,” Helton said. “One person does not have to stand for eight or more hours. I always appreciate extra help.”

A special Celebrity Bell Ringing will be held Dec. 18 in Carson City. Helton said four groups have signed on for the challenge: Carson High School NJROTC, Soroptimist International of Carson City, Kiwanis and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

“The pressure is on me, but I trust God will provide. And I am thankful to the community. I’ve seen some good things come from the people. It’s fabulous. But on the kettle side of it, it’s an uphill battle.”

Helton said she believes the community will continue to do wonderful work and the Salvation Army will continue to meet the needs of those seeking assistance.

“This place is Chaos Central right now. But I absolutely love this time of year.”

Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.

You can help

What: Red Kettle bell ringers and donations to The Salvation Army

Where: Salvation Army Center, 661 Colorado St., Carson City, 89702

When: Office hours 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. weekdays

Call: 887-9120