A little jingle can go a long way
December 1, 2005
SUMMIT COUNTY – You don’t need rhythm to stand outside and ring the Salvation Army bell. But you do need a little stamina.Frisco resident Mary Runkle was one of the first volunteers of the season to stand outside Safeway Thursday and cue people with a jingle to put a little something into the red kettle. But outside Wal-Mart, it was quiet from 1-3 p.m. The Salvation Army doesn’t have enough volunteers to cover Summit County’s stations – Wal-Mart, Safeway and City Market – from 1-7 p.m. through Dec. 23.Last year, coordinator Carol Rickauer had 120 volunteers to cover two-hour shifts throughout the holiday season. But so far, she only has about 60 people to cover 276 time slots at all four kettle locations.
Ninety percent of the money they raise, which totaled $16,015 last year, stays in the county to help locals with emergency services such as prescriptions, utility bills, funeral expenses and emergency shelter, Rickauer said. Social Services manages and hands out the money to needy locals. Ten percent of the funds bell ringers collect goes to Denver’s Salvation Army, though it grants money back to Summit County during the back-to-school drive, she said.This is the first year Runkle has rang the bell. Thursday, as the snow blew into her covered outdoor area, some people stopped to put change, a dollar or a $5 bill in the red kettle.”It’s been nice,” Runkle said. “I think they’re taking pity on me in this weather.”While everyone reacts slightly differently to the bell ringers, she saw three types of people.
“Some of them don’t want the guilt of not giving, so they don’t look at you, some say ‘hi,’ and some give money,” she said. “But you can’t give every time you go to the grocery store.”Though her nose reddened with the cold, her heart grew warm with the experience of bell ringing in a small town.”I see a lot of people I know. It’s kind of like going to recycle or to the post office – you see all your friends,” she said. “I’m from Kansas City, and I would walk by the bell ringers. Here, I think it’s more personable.”
Ring the BellThe Salvation Army still needs people to volunteer to collect money outside City Market, Safeway and Wal-Mart in two hour shifts (1-3 p.m., 3-5 p.m., and 5-7 p.m.) through Dec. 23. To volunteer, call Carol Rickauer at (970) 668-2942.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13624, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.