Bainbridge community rallies for best red kettle bell drive yet

red-kettle-and-bell-bainbridgeBAINBRIDGE, GA (December 30, 2016) – The Salvation Army set a new record this holiday season for the most money raised in Decatur County by their Red Kettle Campaign, according to Director Stacey Warren.

In November, the head of the Salvation Army Christmas Committee Charles Tyson announced that they had set an attainable goal of $50,000 to be raised this year, nearly $15,000 more than last year’s total. The staggering number was greeted with hopeful optimism.

The goal was met, and a new record set. The Red Kettle Campaign was able to bring in more than $50,000 this year.
“I give the lord the credit, He did it, and I had a great Christmas committee that was chaired by Charles Tyson,” said Warren.

The difference between this year and last year was the involvement of the community. The committee engaged businesses in Bainbridge and got them involved in the drive, according to Warren.

Involvement came in different forms though. Businesses sponsored kettles, or employees would ring bells to help out.

“We had more businesses involved this year in ringing bells which means more individuals so I don’t really want to give credit to any one group,” said Warren, “Just our community as a whole, because they really showed up and showed up big for us this year.”

The community involvement was a change from years past. In years past, the fund raising efforts came as a part of a friendly competition between the civic clubs in Bainbridge. The Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, and the Lions Club were all challenged to out-raise each other. The efforts switched and the experiment paid off in the end.

The money will stay in Decatur County and be put toward various programs that the Salvation Army has and some of the money will go toward the funding of additional programs that the Salvation Army hopes to roll out for 2017.

The Red Kettle Campaign is coming full circle with the additional funds leading to additional programs. The money raised by the community, heading up by volunteers from the community, is being redistributed back into the community.

“Certainly the community came out big in the support of the Salvation Army,” said Warren, “so we appreciate them partnering with us and wanting to be a part of doing the most good in our community because their change will make change for our community. The change that was put in the kettle will create change in our community.”

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Students learn about helping community by ringing bells for Salvation Army kettle

bainbridge-student-bell-ringersBAINBRIDGE, GA (December 13, 2016) – A little bit of change can make a big difference.

Kids and teachers at Jones-Wheat Elementary School are seeing that firsthand with the school’s own Salvation Army kettle drive.

Students from pre-K to fourth grade rotate to ring the bell at the kettle in front of Jones-Wheat’s library. After starting last Monday, the school has already filled up one kettle with more than $150 and are well on their way to filling a second one.

“They see adults ringing the bells, but they always never knew why,” JWES Principal Larry Clark said. “We just wanted to bring it closer to home for them, teach them the importance of it, so when they do see that, they understand exactly what is going on. We have talked to them about how the salvation army makes donations to those that are homeless and help out people in need.”

After visiting the snack bar, the students take what change they have left and put it in the kettle. Parents and teachers are also bringing money to add to the pot.

“I love teaching the younger generations to give back to their community,” Salvation Army Director Stacy Warren said. “It’s great to see them engaged and giving back and understanding the importance of what that means to support the community they are a part of.”

Other schools, including Bainbridge High School, have set up a kettle and are collecting donations through Friday, the last day of school.

“It feels great,” Clark said about JWES raising money that goes back to those in need throughout Bainbridge. “But mainly, it’s teaching our kids the importance of giving back.”

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Warren speaks about Salvation Army’s holiday plans

stacy-warrenBAINBRIDGE, GA (November 29, 2016) – The Rotary Club of Bainbridge met for their weekly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 29, to discuss their plans for the upcoming holiday season fundraising campaign. Speaker Stacey Warren from the Salvation Army discussed the many ways that the organization helps families in need.

Through donations, the Salvation Army helped 1500 people over the past year and handed out over 750 school supplies here in Decatur County. The Salvation Army supplies families with anything from clothes and food all the way to financial support.

“We also went to camp.” Said Warren while talking about the Salvation Army’s involvement over the past year. “We take 12-15 students from our community to Camp Grandview, which is a property owned by Salvation Army in Jasper, Georgia.”

The camp functions like a vacation bible school for children aged 6-12 that would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a camp.

The main topic of discussion however was the raising of money through their Red Kettle campaign. Which, as you may know it, are the bell ringers that stand outside of businesses collecting money from people who pass by.

“When people think of the Salvation Army, they think of a little red kettle.” Warren said.

This year Rotarian Charles Tyson is the head of the Salvation Army’s Christmas committee in Bainbridge. He has set what he calls an “attainable goal” of $50,000 after the campaign was able to raise over $35,000 last year.

Warren noted that every penny of the money that is raised by the Red Kettle campaign will stay in Bainbridge.

Tyson was able to partner with many businesses around Bainbridge to get their support in sponsoring a kettle called Fill the Kettle.

The Salvation Army is planning on ringing the bells for a total of 1093 hours this season, which creates 552 opportunities for anyone to volunteer to ring the bells. 

Warren also told Rotarians about the Georgia Power Share Program, which pairs Georgia Power with the Salvation Army in a joint fundraising effort. The program allows Georgia Power customers in Decatur County to make a donation to the Salvation Army through their power bill, which is then matched in value by Georgia Power, and allocated back to Decatur County to be put to use for those in financial need. The program is open to anyone who wishes to donate, not just Rotary members.

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