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Show Us Your Sunshine: Salvation Army Red Kettle

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It just wouldn’t be the holiday season without the sweet cadence of the Salvation Army kettle bells filling the winter air; With the tolling of the lilting bells telling the tale of great need in our community. “This is our biggest fund-raiser of the year,” said Lt. Julie Chamberlain, who oversees The Salvation Army of Brooksville/Hernando County with Lt. Mike Chamberlain.

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Debbie Alderson, volunteer coordinator for The Salvation Army in Hernando County, agrees that the holiday Red Kettle Campaign is vital to the services and success of their organization. “Every dollar collected in the red kettles supports all of our services and programs provided throughout the year, including feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, offering emergency financial assistance, providing toys to children, and hosting after-school programs. This campaign helps us pay the bills and keep the lights on,” Alderson summarized.

This year, more volunteers are needed to ring the bells at area stores and businesses Nov. 17- Dec. 24. Standing beside the shiny red kettles as they ring the bells and wish everyone who passes a happy holiday. “They don’t have to ask for money,” said Alderson. 

One requisite is that the bell ringers have fun. They can set their own shifts, wear crazy costumes if they choose, move and dance, and ring with friends. “Groups of volunteers will challenge each other to see who can make the most money. We have one volunteer who dresses as Santa, and others who dress as elves or wear antlers,” said Chamberlain.

Become a Santa of Sunshine this year by registering to ring! Visit http://ow.ly/lfns50GG5lw and simply select the location, date and time you would like to ring. Bring your ID or driver’s license and social security card, and be ready to ring!

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Volunteers and donors also can support the Salvation Army through its classic Angel Tree program, in which givers select gift tags from trees posted at area Walmart stores defining the gift requirements of children in need. Grab a tag off a tree, which lists the age, gender(s) and request of the little Angel receiving assistance. Or, go to https://bit.ly/3cgL8Jk and shop from home. 

“Every child deserves to experience the joy of opening presents on Christmas morning. When you adopt an Angel from our Angel Tree, you are ensuring that one less child will go without this year. Adopt an Angel today to provide that joy to a child in need,” reads an event description. Furthermore, it’s not only children that are served by the Salvation Army Holiday giving program. “We have a Silver Bells program in which people can donate gifts for senior citizens,” said Chamberlain. Sugar-free candy, hygiene packs, and treaded slippers are some of the most requested items on Silver Bells wish lists; to support this or any other Salvation Army holiday giving program, call the Salvation Army of Hernando County at (352) 796-1186 or visit 15464 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville. And to spread your own positive community news, send your good news to community reporter Megan Hussey at the Hernando Sun, [email protected] Show Us Your Sunshine!

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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