Mahaska County Salvation Army begins first Christmas in July

Salvation Army of Mahaska County

Salvation Army of Mahaska County

This week, customers of Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart, and Fareway in Mahaska County will hear the kettle bells that normally remind shoppers that Christmas is coming.

The Mahaska County Salvation Army is holding a new initiative called the Christmas in July to raise $10,000. From Wednesday through Saturday,  July 10-20, ten days volunteers will ring bells next to Red Kettles outside the above stores in the Oskaloosa area to meet the goal.

Jerry Morrison, Chairperson for the Mahaska County Salvation Army, said the organization has started recruiting volunteers and in the Christmas season they have had more than 351 volunteers brave the cold.  Hopefully most or more volunteers will brave the heat for an hour or two.

“We are really looking to our community right now to help with this,” Jerry Morrison said in a press release about the campaign. “By having a volunteer at a Red Kettle stand, people are much more likely to donate. An unmanned kettle typically means an empty kettle, and empty kettles won’t allow us to reach out to the community the way it needs us to.”

Morrison said local Salvation Army officials started the campaign as a way to combat typically low donations during the summer months. This, he said, is because people tend to take vacations or leave the area.

“What people don’t realize is that we’re here all year,” he said. “Our expenses in the summer do not go down like our donations do.”

Some of the Salvation Army expenses include assisting people with housing, utilities, food, and other emergencies he said.

Although the organization has not yet reached its goal in volunteers, the people who have decided to get involved are happy to do it.

One  resident said she heard the Salvation Army needed volunteers  and decided to sign up. She will be working a two-hour shift on Wednesday afternoon at the Wal-Mart.

“I thought, Why not, since we’re gone all winter,” she said. “I now have a whole new respect for people who do this in the winter.”

Officials decided to have the campaign last only ten days because of the warm weather.   “The Salvation Army has already received donated water to help with hydration of the volunteers outside.”

Anyone interested in bell ringing for an hour or two or more between 8 am and 8 pm please call Jerry Morrison at 641-660-0173 or Karen at 641-295-0942.  We will have locations available at Wal-Mart, Hy-vee and Fareway.

Anyone interested in making donations may mail them to: P. O. Box 487, Oskaloosa, IA 52577.

“If anyone can volunteer their time in any way, it makes a huge difference in our community

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