The temperature should pass 90 today, but the Salvation Army in
Central Ohio still figures it's a good time to inquire about your
Christmas holiday plans.
Officials are working to sign up dozens of volunteers willing to
"adopt" one of the charity's red kettles and then schedule enough
friends and family to cover a full day of bell ringing, not just a
"If you ask someone now if they're free on Dec. 8, they probably will
be. If we ask on Dec. 1, probably not," said agency spokeswoman Alice
The Salvation Army is promoting kettle adoption as a way to reduce
its reliance on paid bell ringers, boost contributions and remedy some
Under the old setup, staff members traveled to each of the more than
80 kettle sites and collected money after every shift change. Longer
shifts by volunteers would mean fewer collection trips.
In addition, board member Kim Swanson said, bell ringers who donate their time seem to be the most enthusiastic.
"One of the things we've learned as we look at our collections is the
more volunteers we have, the more successful we are," he said.
The agency has long struggled to recruit volunteer bell ringers. Last
year, Hohl said, just 17 percent of total kettle hours were covered by
She said that kettle adoption could be a fun way for families,
friends or colleagues to work together on a project that helps the
needy. The campaign raised more than $500,000 during the past holiday
"We feel that it's a pretty big commitment, but we hope it's fun and rewarding, too," Hohl said.
Although a few groups have taken on a kettle for the day in the past,
the adoption idea wasn't heavily promoted. Swanson said he doubts the
agency can eliminate the need for paid bell ringers, but it wants to
"It's a lot of fun - just a wonderful experience," said Debbie Lutz,
who has helped with all-day kettle duty through the Dublin A.M. Rotary
Club and with friends, family and neighbors. "It's easy and you feel so
Officials suggest that those who adopt a kettle take the first and
last shifts of what generally is a 10-hour day. It's then up to that
volunteer to fill the volunteer shifts in between with family and
Hohl said a committee of local business leaders also is working on
plans to enlist volunteer groups to get involved in the red-kettle
Lutz recommends working with a friend. The four-legged variety is a magnet for donations, she said.
"We take our dog. Dogs attract attention."
For more information, go to www.salvationarmycolumbus.org or call 614-304-1090.