ALTON – Local Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign organizers say the weekend's balmy temperatures contributed to a weekend contribution total of $10,475.
“It appears that as last weekend's weather temps were on the rise, so too was our Red Kettle thermometer tracking the progress of this year’s campaign,” 2015 Salvation Army Kettle Campaign Coordinator Greg Gelzinnis said. Adding the $10,475 brought in over the weekend, the current total is approximately $38,179, Gelzinnis said.
“We also received a nice surprise of a gold coin in our Wood River Walmart kettle on Friday,” he said.
“This past weekend was a busy one for us as we had ringers at almost every location for most of the day,” Lt. Bryan Ellison of the Salvation Army said.
“We can’t thank all of our groups enough that were out ringing the bells for us this weekend,” Ellison said. “Everyone from our CM High School Student Council Students, to church groups from Bethalto UMC & Lifehouse Community Church, several area Rotary Clubs, and even a very festively costumed team of ringers from the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus helped us make that wonderful weekend total.”
Gelzinnis said organizers also appreciate Mayor Brant Walker, Police Chief Jason “Jake” Simmons, and the city of Alton employees who manned a special kettle Saturday at St. Louis Bread Company.
He said a special part of Saturday was sharing a donation of hamburgers from the Ventimiglia family of Tony’s with the volunteer bell ringers over the noon hour, along with bottled water and hot chocolate served from the mobile canteen. The Ellison family was also joined by Red Kettle mascot, Cocoa the greyhound, adorned with reindeer antlers.
While Gelzinnis said he is pleased with the campaign results so far, 10 days still lie ahead.
“In order for us to achieve our $99,000 goal, we are going to need another 300 individuals to commit to doing their part by donating at least two hours of their time to cover a shift between now and the campaign’s end on Dec. 24,” he said. “I am confident that there are some large donations that still could be made by generous residents of the Riverbend area, and I guess I am praying that they find their way into one of our kettles. A $5,000 or $10,000 gift would go a long way to helping us achieve our goal and ensure that the Alton Corps can continue to provide service to those in the most need in our community as we have for the last 127 years.”