How to help
To sign up as a bell ringer or to make a donation to the Craig Service Unit of the Salvation Army, call LuAnn Kline at 824-5926. You may leave a message if you connect with the answering machine.
Craig When the holiday season begins in earnest this year, residents may hear new sounds as they go about their business - sounds like snow crunching underfoot or an occasional Christmas carol.
With the help of some volunteers, they may also hear the sounds of ringing bells.
The Craig Service Unit of the Salvation Army currently is looking for bell ringers for its annual kettle drive, a national Salvation Army fundraiser. Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit local residents.
Per holiday tradition, local volunteers stand near black Salvation Army kettles, ringing their bells. The sound alone, unit member Shannan Koucherik said, is sometimes enough to elicit a response.
"We have people every year ... (who), as soon as they hear the bell, they start fishing in their pockets" for change, Koucherik said.
Young and old, groups and individuals - everyone is encouraged to volunteer Koucherik and fellow unit member LuAnn Kline said. The only requirements are a tolerance for the cold and a warm personality.
"We really need people ... who can say 'Merry Christmas' and 'Thank you,'" Koucherik said.
The unit is scheduled to set up donation kettles in front of City Market and Kmart from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Nov. 23 to Dec. 24. Ideally, two volunteers are stationed at each location at any given time. Volunteers can choose to participate from one hour to six hours at a time. Groups can sign up to take one location for a day or more.
Individuals are welcome to volunteer, as well.
"I really feel that a lot of individuals want to" volunteer, Koucherik said. She has volunteered with the Salvation Army kettle drive for 10 years.
She encourages individuals to volunteer even if they're not with a group.
In the past, families have signed up to take shifts at the kettles together.
"It's so cool," Kline said. "In the past, a parent will bring a little kid ... and the kid will ring."
Families are "really welcome" to participate this year, Koucherik said.
During past holiday seasons, she's watched children put their donations in the kettles, either by themselves or with a parent. She said she believes doing so teaches children about the value of giving - even if the amount donated is only pocket change or a few stray pennies.
The children "know they're helping," Koucherik said.
The unit hasn't set a fundraising goal for this year's drive and it never has in the past, Koucherik said.
"God is going to give us the amount we need," Koucherik said.
Thanks to its donors, last year's drive was successful - so much so that this year, the unit will be making a one-time donation to the Salvation Army's national disaster relief fund.
The majority of the funds the unit collects will be used locally.
"Ninety percent of the funds raised during the kettle campaign stay in Moffat County and are used to underwrite summer camps for children as well as emergency support for county residents," Koucherik wrote a press release.