Salvation Army seeks volunteers for kettle drive

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'This is what we're supposed to do - help those who need help.'

By James Roberts

It was cold. Her back hurt. Sometimes she sat. Sometimes she stood. But whatever she did, Wanda Franklin never stopped ringing her bell.

Franklin is among just a handful of volunteers ringing the Salvation Army bell at Wal-Mart Supercenter during the Christmas shopping season this year.

In addition to Franklin, one other individual and a church group have volunteered for the month-long fundraiser.

Though this is Franklin's first time volunteering for the Campbellsville Salvation Army, she did travel to Mississippi with the Louisville branch in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Franklin wanted the Friday morning spot because she knew there would be plenty of foot traffic. Friday mornings, especially this past Friday, which marked the start of the Christmas shopping season, is always a particularly busy time at shopping centers, Franklin said.

"I couldn't understand why they didn't have any volunteers for Friday morning," she said.

So, she volunteered for the 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. slot at Wal-Mart.

"The response was overwhelming. The kettle was pretty well full when I left at 1 p.m.," Franklin said.

Amanda Simpson volunteered as a bell ringer for the first time last year and was back again this year, ringing the bell in the afternoon and evening from Friday to Sunday.

"I like helping people and this is something that I can do," she said.

When it comes to giving, Simpson said, the weak economy has had little impact.

"A lot are stopping. People are being really generous. No matter how bad the economy is, people are still going to stop and donate because they know it is a good cause."

In Taylor County, the fundraiser averages around $7,000 each year.

"We mainly operate on those collections," Phyllis Rhodes, chair of the local program, told the News-Journal last month. "We do have other sources, like our mail appeal, but most is through the bell ringers."

Every penny raised in Taylor County goes to help Taylor Countians. Most of the money is used to help those displaced by fires. Salvation Army funds are also used for other needs, but those functions are organized through the Taylor County Crisis Relief agency.

But the success of the fundraiser depends on volunteers. Kathleen Fletcher, welfare secretary for the local program, said donations drop when a bell ringer does not accompany the red kettles.

Franklin said she enjoyed her first day as a bell ringer and encourages others to volunteer.

"I just feel it's a way of giving back for all the blessings I've received over my lifetime. This is what we're supposed to do - help those who need help."

To volunteer, contact Karen Clark at 465-9880.

- Staff Writer James Roberts can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 226 or by e-mail at