GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The Red Kettle Campaign is the Grand Junction Salvation Army’s largest fund raiser, not just of the holiday season, but the year. However, because of the pandemic, the non-profit is taking a hard hit. Bell ringers usually rally in $200,000, and this year, the Salvation Army is not too confident it’ll reach that number. So to help fill the kettles, The Rotary Club and Kiwanis are battling with bells.
It’s a decades long tradition that typically raises $35,000-$45,000 in just a few hours, and the need for these funds is more crucial than ever. Cary Eidsness, a Rotary Club ringer, says, “there’s just a lot more need in the community with this COVID situation. There’s a lot of families that are having trouble.”
Outside stores across the Grand Valley, Rotarians and Kiwanians, of all ages, rang those iconic bells. Brayden, a young Rotary Club ringer, says, “if this wasn’t here, and we were donating, I don’t know what some people would do.”
In addition, COVID has also caused some changes to the competition and cancelled the game night that determines who will ring when. In turn, the clubs when with the status quo. That is, the Rotary Club rang in the morning, while Kiwanis waited until the afternoon. Regardless, enthusiasm was high all day.
The Rotary Club holds the record for the most wins, but in the end, both clubs agree that it’s just a friendly competition. Eidsness says, “if we raise a lot of money, and the Kiwanians beat us, that would be great.” Toni Heiden, Kiwanis President, adds, “it’s a win win for everyone because the Salvation Army wins.”
All Red Kettle ringers are volunteers this year, and the Salvation Army still needs shifts filled in Grand Junction, Montrose, and Delta. Every shift left empty is potential funds lost for these communities. To volunteer, sign up at salarmy.us/grandjunctionbellringing for Grand Junction, salarmy.us/montrosebellringing for Montrose, or salarmy.us/deltabellringing for Delta.