Shannan Koucherik is more than familiar with Moffat County’s cold winters.
For the last 14 years, Koucherik has stood outside local businesses ringing bells as part of the Salvation Army’s annual kettle drive.
Despite having rung a bell in below-freezing weather, it’s a tradition that Koucherik looks forward to each year.
“The best part of the whole year for us is the bell ringing campaign,” Koucherik said. “We all like ringing the bell.”
Koucherik, now an extension officer, and the Salvation Army are looking for a few good volunteers this holiday season who are similarly enthusiastic.
The Salvation Army is hoping to find volunteers to help stand by the kettles each Friday through Sunday starting Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving.
Half or full day shifts are available. The hours of a full day shift are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We would like to be able to run the three kettles (at City Market, Walmart and Kmart) all three weekend days through the month of December,” Koucherik said.
To do that, the Salvation Army’s Craig Service Extension Unit is hoping to find as many as 100 bell ringers to split up those weekends. Local businesses are also encouraged to take a day and split the time between multiple employees.
All the money raised locally goes back to people in Moffat County, Koucherik said.
Last year the campaign raised a record $12,000. The record year came on the heels of a year in which the campaign had limited reach.
“We knew last year we really needed to have a good one,” Koucherik said. “The community came through and that’s a lot of quarters and nickels and pennies.”
There is no set goal for fundraising each year, Koucherik said, but she noted the need for assistance from the Salvation Army has increased due to layoffs and other economic issues this year.
In addition to the increased need, the demographics of those in need have changed since last year.
In the past, it was largely single people asking for help, while this year has seen an increase in seniors and families reaching out.
Anyone interested in volunteering can contact LuAnne Kline at The Journey at First Baptist Church at 824-5926.
Volunteers are provided an official bell and apron to wear. Koucherik encourages volunteers to dress in layers and bring hand warmers. There’s a good chance of getting cold, but even then, it’s a job with an upside, she said.
“It’s fun when you’re ringing,” Koucherik said. “You get to see people and wish them a merry Christmas.”
In addition, she’s been able to see children learn about giving from their parents.
“It’s a really good lesson for them,” Koucherik said. “They take their quarter or penny and slide it across the top of the kettle and into the slot.”