The Salvation Army of Ripley County Red Kettle Campaign is still ongoing, reminds Patrick Rose, a member of its advisory council here. In fact, Batesville Kroger leaders are allowing volunteers to collect money through Dec. 31.
Batesville Kroger manager Mike Settembrini notes the company has a long-standing relationship with the nonprofit. “I think a lot of the customers look for the Salvation Army at the stores each year as a way to donate” to those less fortunate.
The reason the kettles will remain in action after Christmas: Donations so far are less than half what they were a year ago. In 2012, bell ringers collected $8,080 in the county, reports Billie Kay, Salvation Army Indiana Division, Indianapolis, service extension director. From Nov. 29 through Dec. 19, contributions totalled just over $3,000. She blames two factors – mostly nasty weather that kept folks at home and a shorter holiday season. “We lost six days” due to the late Thanksgiving date.
Why should residents donate? “To help the people living in their communities,” answers Kay. “Funding donated in Ripley County to the Salvation Army stays in Ripley County,” Rose emphasizes.
According to Kay, “We are an emergency assistance program.” Cash is not given to those in need. Instead, checks are written to companies that provide food, clothing, medicines, utilities and other necessities.
In addition to tossing coins and paper bills in the kettles, persons may write checks made payable to Salvation Army of Ripley County. Money also can be contributed at United Community Bank, Osgood, Kay reports. Area residents who want to be generous, but stay put may donate online at www.salvationarmyusa.org or call 800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769).
Besides Kay, other Salvation Army workers help efforts here. Rhonda Money is the organization’s southern Indiana liaison and Sandy Taylor is the service representative and kettle coordinator. The Salvation Army Ripley County Advisory Council is led by chair the Rev. Donald Buck and co-chair Patrick Rose. Other members are Ray Taylor, Owen Menchhofer, Sue Siefert and Sister Margaret Wissman.
After the 2012 tornado in Holton, the Salvation Army passed out $57,000 in Walmart cards to victims in that small county town. Rose points out, “This was an instant relief to needy citizens to help them recover.” Because of his job, he has worked with Salvation Army officials and volunteers during crises. “It’s a relief organization. They bring a lot to the table. They do a lot. That’s why I decided to be on their board.”
Siefert asks groups to volunteer to ring bells. So far the Batesville Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club of Batesville and Sisters of St. Francis have worked shifts at the grocery store.
Naturally, because the drive has been extended, more persons and clubs are needed to ring the distinctive bells at Kroger and Cash Saver, Versailles. Volunteers may call Sandy Taylor at 812-689-4323.
Area residents should learn more about the organization in coming months. Batesville was added as a Salvation Army unit in Ripley County in 2013, the second after Osgood, according to Kay.
More about the charity
The Salvation Army Web site states, "'Doing the Most Good.' In these four words, our mission -- " to feed, to clothe, to comfort, to care. To rebuild broken homes and broken lives. By walking with the addicted, we can lead them to recovery. In fighting hunger and poverty, we can feed and nurture the spirit. And, in living and sharing the Christian gospel by meeting tangible needs, we give the world a lasting display of the love behind our beliefs. The Salvation Army operates 7,546 centers in communities across the United States. These include food distribution, disaster relief, rehabilitation centers, anti-human trafficking efforts and a wealth of children's programs. Our work is funded through kettle donations, corporate contributions and the sale of goods donated to our Salvation Army Family Stores."