Salvation Army Rings In Season of Red Kettles

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

Salvation Army bell ringer Warren of Cedar Rapids sings as he rings a bell in front of the Walmart SuperCenter on Blairs Ferry Road Wednesday Dec. 15, 2010 in Cedar Rapids. Warren sang different songs to customers in order to raise awareness of the Salvation Army. (Lauren DeWitt/ SourceMedia Group News)

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By Max Walker

CEDAR RAPIDS – The familiar sound of bells started ringing out across Linn County on Tuesday morning.

Bell ringers in their red aprons, holding the shiny gold bells are taking their positions at more than thirty locations throughout the county. They're hoping to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Salvation Army.

“Any bit you can give goes a long way,” said Salvation Army Lt. Michael Sjogren.

The Salvation Army of Cedar Rapids has set a goal to raise $755,000. That’s a 9 percent increase over last year’s fundraising goal.

“We’ve seen an increase in need, pretty dramatically this past year, so this is pretty important to us that we are able to collect the $755,000,” Sjogren said. “That’s about half of our annual budget that that accounts for as well. We also have some expanded and new programs that we are providing this community. So this is pretty critical for our effort throughout the year.”

Bell ringers will staff nearly three dozen sites in and around Cedar Rapids. Sandy and Barry Christensen of Marion started ringing bells years ago. Now, they volunteer for all kinds of additional programs that provide help to those in need.

“It’s just awesome to see how far reaching the Salvation Army is in the community. They serve everyone from young people to seniors,” Barry Christensen said.

The Red Kettle Campaign runs through Dec. 24.

Check out this website, if you’d like to volunteer: http://tsacedarrapids.org/

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