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Need Rises as Salvation Army Bell Ringers Return


The Salvation Army's  Red Kettle bell ringers have arrived for another year. The volunteers ring bells at retail outlets to raise money for the Salvation Army's relief efforts.

Rhinelander area coordinator Kim Swisher says they started earlier than normal this year in the hope of not facing cold weather, but that hasn't proven to be the case. She says the money stays locally, and the need has risen...

"....when I started working with the Salvation Army in 2012 as a volunteer, we had served just under 100 families. This past year we've served over 355 families and individuals. So the need has grown tremendously..."

She says in the past two years, the number of families served has tripled, but donations have leveled off...

".....a dollar in the kettle, change in the kettle. We also have online secure options to make donations online. It's all going back to our community. For every dollar that's contributed, 86 cents stays right here in Rhinelander....."

Swisher says the goal is again $35,000 for the Rhinelander area campaign. Last year was under $30,000 and they would like to return the donation level to the 2012 level.

Swisher says they use the funds for emergency services, like housing. They also help with transportation, maybe a gas card until the person gets a paycheck, or emergency help for medicine. She says most of the people getting help are working, people living paycheck to paycheck until there's a problem. They also help Frederick Place homeless shelter, and people who lose homes from fire. They also support a backpack program which sends food home for needy children during the weekend. Swisher says the also need volunteers.

Their website isoneidawi.volunteerfirst. org

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