At his past Salvation Army post, Capt. Guy Nickum marshaled a troop of volunteers to ring the bells and man the Christmastime donation kettles.
Entering into his fourth Valdosta Christmas, Nickum has to resort to another method to man the Salvation Army kettles. He must hire 16 people to work the Salvation Army’s eight kettle locations.
Granted, area individuals, church groups, Scout troops and others volunteer to ring the bells, but not enough Valdostans and South Georgians volunteer to keep the kettles operating full-time, Nickum says.
Still, even paying people to work the bells is worthwhile. Last Christmas season, the kettles raised $57,159 which serves as the Salvation Army’s largest annual fundraiser.
But these donations would go much further if the Salvation Army could schedule the kettles with more volunteers at the Valdosta locations, which are two kettles at Walmart on Norman
#Drive, two kettles at Walmart on Inner Perimeter, one kettle each at Sam’s, the Valdosta Mall, Hobby Lobby, and the Winn Dixie on North Ashley Street.
Starting in the coming weeks, bell ringers are needed to man kettles from 10 a.m.-until ..., on Mondays through Saturdays. The Salvation Army does not collect on Sundays. Nickum says anyone is welcome to volunteer from individuals to organizations to families, though children must be accompanied by a parent or adult. He asks, too, that volunteers take a shift of a few hours rather than one hour.
The fundraising is important because it is used to fund the Salvation Army’s many yearround activities. Given the Salvation Army’s nationwide holiday kettle campaign and specifically its spearheading Valdosta’s Empty Stocking Fund, many people only think of the Salvation Army at Christmas time, but its mission runs 12 months out of the year.
The Valdosta Salvation Army hosts Scout troops. It opens its doors for area church use. A school uses the gym for work outs. The gymnasium is regularly opened for the community to use for basketball. The building is open to the Department of Family and Children Services for programs. There are feeds and after-school programs and worship services.
At 10:30 a.m. each Sunday, the Salvation Army opens for a Bible-study worship service. At 11:30 a.m. each Sunday, Capt. Guy Nickum and wife Capt. Monica Nickum travel to Ora Lee West, going door to door to offer prayers and ministering.
Meanwhile, the Salvation Army operates a thrift store and a transient house in addition to its Troup Street facility.
So, the more volunteers who can ring the bells, the more of the kettle donations go toward the Salvation Army’s mission of helping the poor and the lost and to being a neighbor to the entire community.
To volunteer as a bell ringer, call Capt. Guy Nickum, Salvation Army, (229) 242-6440.