Salvation Army In Need Of Ringers And Angel Adoptions
By KATHLEEN SHAW
Daily News-Record 11/13/20
As winter peeks its jolly head around the corner, Salvation Army’s iconic red kettles begin to appear for donation collections.
On Thursday morning, the local chapter hosted its annual kettle and angel tree kickoff in the Belk Court at Valley Mall.
After leading the crowd in prayer, Capt. Harold Gitau, corps officer for the Harrisonburg Salvation Army, said this year looks to be the most challenging of all for local families in need.
“We’ve all been dictated by this year,” Gitau said. “We have seen more people coming into our doors asking for help.”
Gitau said over 1,000 “angels” have been adopted this year, but there are nearly 400 more awaiting adoption. Angel trees are decorated with the names and information of locals who otherwise might not receive any gifts this year, so people are encouraged to “adopt” an angel by finding and donating gifts so they might have a merrier Christmas.
Harrisonburg Salvation Army relies entirely on volunteer efforts to ring the bell for change. Due to the limited number of ringers available this year, kettles will only be posted for collection on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, as opposed to the entire week.
As Christmas carols and pop music chimed from overhead, Mayor Deanna Reed said she was excited to be a part of the kettle kickoff, which marks the season’s start.
“Even though we know this is a tough time. We’re in the middle of a crisis. …Our families are in good hands,” Reed said.
Reed rang the first bell of the year. Elizabeth, 13, and her brother Robert, 7, ceremoniously donated the first coins to the kettle. The children are the three-generation grandchildren of Major C. C. Miller, a Salvation Army officer who served from 1940 to 1959.
Board advisory chair Jordan Bowman shared an anecdote of when he and his wife were ringing outside the Walmart on Va. 42 last year and were surprised by a gracious donor who saved up all year to give back.
“No one fundraiser could do what this community and donors do,” he said. “We really are blessed to live in a commonwealth where we receive such support.”
As of Thursday afternoon, $7,215 was raised of the $50,000 goal for the Salvation Army.
Individuals interested in volunteering as ringers can either do so in person or virtually by creating a page to raise donations in the red kettle campaign. For more information, go to www.registertoring.com or call 540-434-4854.