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Ringing in the holidays
Bell ringers sought for Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign
red kettle pic 1
Salvation Army of Barton County held a toy drive last Saturday, preparing for its annual Red Kettle Campaign. Pictured are Nancy Rodgers, age 4, and Jessie Brenes Jr. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

They are among the first signs of the coming Christmas season and the Salvation Army’s signature red kettles will soon be appearing in local businesses.

The 2019 Red Kettle Campaign opens the day after Thanksgiving Day and runs through Christmas Eve, said Amanda Presley, Barton County Red Kettle Campaign coordinator. Last year, the local campaign raised $29,000 and this year’s goal is $35,000.

“But, that’s provided I have bell ringers,” Presley said. She is seeking five to seven paid bell ringers and several volunteers from clubs, organizations, churches or other groups to help.

There will be full-time kettles at Walmart and at the 10th Street and Main Street Dillons stores in Great Bend. These should be manned from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day except Sundays. 

The ringers will only have to work three-hour shifts, but that is flexible, Presley said.

There will also be counter-top kettles in several locations throughout the county.

“One person can make a difference,” Presley said. “If we come together, we can help keep folks going through the holidays.”

This campaign is a good way to do that, she said. Of all the money raised, 100% of it stays in Barton County.

“It helps with emergency need services,” said Dana Walls, Salvation Army Thrift Store manager. The funds help residents with rent, utility payments, medicine, disaster assistance and, on a limited basis, food and fuel. It also goes for scholarships to the Salvation Army’s summer camp for kids, the backpack program and other efforts.

There is no financial requirement, but those seeking help do have to come in, explain their need and fill out some paperwork. Sadly, they sometimes have to turn people away when funds run low.

In this day and age, this effort involves more than dropping change into red kettles. There are other options to give, she said. 

The Salvation Army is giving donors a new way to join the Fight for Good at the red kettle via a sticker scannable with a cellphone. Simply use Apple Pay or Google Pay at participating red kettles, including here in Great Bend, to donate digitally.

Other way to donate:

• Visit

• Drop money into any of the thousands of red kettles at partner storefront locations.

• Ask Amazon Alexa by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specify the amount.

• Sign up to give a sustaining monthly donation to help The Salvation Army year-round.

• Give any amount by texting “KETTLES” to 91999.



In its 129th year, this the largest and longest-running fundraiser of its kind. It raised $142.7 million during the 2018 national drive.

Grammy Award-nominated and multi-platinum singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding will perform live at AT&T Stadium during the nationally televised halftime of the Dallas Cowboys game on CBS against the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving Day. The kickoff performance is a Cowboys tradition, sounding the call for Americans to donate to the iconic Red Kettle Campaign.

Started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable charitable campaigns in the United States. It provides toys for kids, coats for the homeless, food for the hungry and countless social service programs year around. 

More than 25,000 Salvation Army volunteers throughout the country ring bells and solicit donations to the red kettles.

For information on the program, call Presley or Walls at the Great Bend store, 620-792-4299.

How to help

To help with the local Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign or for more information about it, call Campaign Coordinator Amanda Presley or Great Bend Salvation Army store Manager Dana Walls, 620-792-4299. 

The Salvation Army Thrift Store is located at 2545 10th St. in Great Bend. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.