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Kettle campaign needs army of givers

The Salvation Army red kettle campaign is way behind schedule.

As of Monday, only about $22,000 had been raised by St. Croix County bellringers.

That's bad news for local Salvation Army officials who set an aggressive $100,000 goal for this year's effort. Last year the county gathered about $62,000 in donations, but the organization ran out of money by the end of the year.

"I'm extremely concerned," said Duana Bremer, director of the Salvation Army of St. Croix County. "I'm not trying to scare people, but this is reality. We've only got a few days left to get up to our goal."

Bremer said it's clear that the need for assistance in the county is growing as the population rises.

"So far this year we've written double the amount of fuel assistance and rent assistance vouchers," she said. "Obviously we'll be out of money in six months if this keeps up."

Her concern is heightened because Polk County has already raised more for the Salvation Army than St. Croix County, and that is unusual.

"I'm really worried," she said.

Bremer urged local shoppers to dig deep when considering a donation to the Salvation Army.

Not only does the Salvation Army need financial donations, the organization is seeking volunteer bellringers to ensure the local sites are staffed.

Red kettles are set up at several local stores this holiday season -- Wal-Mart, County Market, Econofoods and Pamida at various times and days.

Anyone wishing to volunteer an hour of their time to ring a bell can call Lori Scheder, county kettle drive coordinator, at 247-3308, or Grace Place in Somerset.

Donations can be mailed to Salvation Army, 203 Church Hill Road, Somerset, Wis. 54025.

Bremer noted that one hour of bell ringing can feed a family of five for a week. Manning a red kettle for two hours can prevent a family from being evicted from their home.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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