The annual Salvation Army Red Kettle bell ringing campaign is now in full swing for the 2019 holiday season.
Pastor Jon Watt said this week that as of Monday Dec. 16, the effort has generated more than $18,000 so far, while noting the need for additional volunteer bell ringers at other locations in town.
“We have Smith’s, and the two doors at Walmart,” he said. “If we had more volunteers, the Tractor Supply Company was willing to allow us to have somebody there, as well as Starbucks, but we just didn’t have the volunteers to put people there. We have done a little bit of ringing at the Farmers Market but we didn’t get that much from there, but anything is better than nothing and that is to be thanked.”
Last year, the agency generated roughly $33,000 for the campaign.
Watt hopes to at least equal or surpass that amount this time around.
“This is our big push for the year, and it’s what supplies the food for those who are in need,” he said. “We have had some people that have dropped $20 bills in the kettle, and people who dropped $50s and $100. When I look at a town that’s got a 40,000-plus population, I would just like to see the equivalency one dollar per person. That makes a huge difference. I really want to thank all of the people who have donated, and especially those who have donated by reaching into their pocket and dropping $100 in.”
Going hand-in-hand with the bell ringing campaign is the ever-popular Angel Giving Tree event for area families, where Christmas trees in area businesses display angel tags that include a child’s gender, age-range and toy suggestion.
At present, the Salvation Army has collected many brand new toys and bicycle donations.
Watt said that the amount of requests has increased dramatically compared to past years.
“Last year, 130 children’s names were signed up for our Angel Tree event,” he said. “This year, 284 children have been signed up for the Angel Tree. The Nye County Detention Center took 45 names, and they called again and told us they had room for more. Valley Electric Association has participated this year, as well as Desert View Hospital.”
Watt, who noted that the Angel Giving Tree event begins on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., also spoke about an additional detail on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., for families who, for whatever reason, did not sign up for the Angel Giving Tree event.
“We have what we call the Christmas Toy Store, and everything has been donated,” he said. “Calling it a store is almost a misnomer because they are not spending any money. They can come in and get the items as they choose. We are asking people to sign up ahead of time which will give them time to come in. We know there’s going to be a lot of people who will be finding out about the Christmas Toy Store at the last minute. I would like to see everyone signed up before Saturday because we can schedule people to come in at a particular time bracket.”
Additionally, Watt thanked businesses and members of the community for their respective donations this year.
“I just want to say thank you to the people who have been donating because we’ve got dozens of bicycles, Barbie dolls and all kinds of different toys,” he said. “Some people have actually brought in clothes as well. We also had some low-income families who actually contributed.”
The Pahrump Salvation Army is at 721 Buol Lane.
For additional information, call 775-751-6171.
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @pvtimes