DERRY — The bells started ringing yesterday outside stores in Salem, Derry and Londonderry.
And they will continue to ring 12 hours a day, six days a week through Christmas Eve.
The Salvation Army counts on those quick donations to support its charitable work at the holidays and throughout the year. The Red Kettle campaign accounts for more than 50 percent of annual fundraising at the Derry Salvation Army office, according to Lt. Christopher Williams.
The Red Kettle drive made readers’ list of “603 Reasons” New Hampshire is special.
Now, even people who are short of cash can make a donation.
Each kettle has a QR code that can be scanned with a smart phone and a donation made online. In addition, donors can visit onlineredkettle.org/TheSalvationArmyDerryNH to make a donation that will stay in the local area, he said.
There are 20 kettles set up outside grocery and retail stores, with volunteers ringing the bell and extending season’s greetings to all who pass by.
But more help is needed, Williams said.
“I’ll take as many as I can get,” he said of volunteers.
Derry Boy Scout Troop 98 and Cub Scout Pack 98 always volunteer. So, too, do Derry firefighters, Derry School District employees, the Salvation Army’s advisory council and others.
“We’re out there every day, except Sundays and Thanksgiving, until Christmas Eve, basically from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.,” Williams said. “We work around whatever hours volunteers can give. This is over half of our fundraising for the year.”
The organization already has 200 local youngsters on a list, all hoping for a few toys and some new clothes for Christmas, he said. Last year, the Derry Salvation Army brightened the holidays for 290 children, from newborns through high school seniors.
The wishes waiting to be granted aren’t grand, Williams said, no game systems or high-end electronics.