December 6, 2012

Salvation Army bell ringers in Waterville area about one-third of the way to $60,000 goal

By Amy Calder
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- Volunteers are out ringing the bells and collecting money as part of a goal of raising $60,000 for the Salvation Army Waterville Corps' annual kettle campaign.

click image to enlarge

Salvation Army bellringers Gary Mullins and his wife, Jean, at right, greet shoppers as Carol Noel helps her grandaughter, Peyton, drop money in the kettle at Elm Plaza in Waterville on Monday. "People have been very generous," Gary Mullins said.

Staff photo by David Leaming

So far, donors have given $18,500 toward that goal, Major David Dickson said recently.

"A little bit of change goes a long way in helping to meet the goal," Dickson said.

Last year the Salvation Army met its goal of raising $50,000, he said.

The fund allows the organization to buy and distribute toys to needy children in Waterville and Winslow and supply needy families in those communities with food baskets, food vouchers and winter coats during the holiday season, he said.

The money also is used to fill their needs during the year, he said.

"It doesn't have to be a $20 bill. If it is, that's wonderful," Dickson said. "We certainly appreciate everyone who has helped us out, and we hope that continues."

Donors are generous, as they typically are during the holiday season, but the needs are increasing, he said.

"Every year it doesn't seem to get any better for people who are in need," he said.

"The weather also has a part to play in that. We just pray for good weather, right up until Dec. 24," he said.

The kettles were placed in the communities the week before Thanksgiving and will remain there through Christmas Eve, he said.

In Waterville, volunteers are ringing bells between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. outside Walmart, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Shaw's supermarket, Marden's Surplus & Salvage and Maine Made & More, according to Dickson. People also are giving at a kettle at Walmart in Skowhegan.

The local Salvation Army primarily serves people in Waterville and Winslow, but if others ask for assistance, the army refers them to someone who can help.

Part of the money collected in Skowhegan stays in that town, Dickson said.

Dickson coordinates volunteers.

His wife, Major Karin Dickson, coordinates volunteers at the toy and food basket operation in a building on College Avenue that houses the Salvation Army Thrift Store.

Businesses and organizations also host Salvation Army Christmas giving trees so employees may buy gifts for needy children.

Those gifts ultimately are taken to the College Avenue site for distribution.

David Dickson said anyone wanting to volunteer may call the organization at 872-2172. Donations are accepted at 225 Main St., P.O. Box 137, Waterville, ME 04901.

"We're in desperate need of kettle ringers," Karin Dickson said Thursday.

Amy Calder -- 861-9247

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