Toronto Salvation Army kettle drive to begin

TORONTO – The city unit of the Salvation Army is looking for a few good volunteers to ring bells during its annual kettle drive beginning Nov. 22 and running through Dec. 21.

The drive will be similar to those of years past, with volunteers ringing bells from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday and Saturday at both Toronto Kwik King locations and Riesbeck’s grocery store, according to Don Redmond, kettle drive coordinator.

“I’ve got two units lined up so far,” said Redmond, adding the Toronto First Presbyterian Church and the Toronto Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star have volunteered to take the first weekend of the drive. “It takes 18 volunteers at one-hour shifts to ring the bells each day.”

Redmond is hoping organizations and churches will help fill the remaining slots with volunteers. Last year’s kettle drive raised more than $12,000 and is the unit’s biggest source of revenue for year, said Redmond.

“The kettle drive is the main source of revenue,” he said. “Without the kettle drive there would be no Salvation Army in Toronto.”

Redmond also said he’s looking for more young volunteers to ring the bells this year.

“I’m hoping some of the younger people step up,” he said. “I have a lot of (older volunteers) who physically can’t do it anymore, but they are doing it, anyway.

“I’ve had so many bell ringers tell me they’ve enjoyed it because they are seeing people they haven’t seen in years,” Redmond continued. “I wish people could see those who come to use the services at the Salvation Army. Some come there with tears in their eyes.”

Redmond also said the citizens of Toronto always come through and are generous in their donations, year after year.

“It’s nothing I’m doing,” he said, adding the people of Toronto are the ones who fund the unit. “It’s those who are contributing who deserve the credit. I say it every year, but I mean it more every year – (Toronto citizens) are the most awesome in the world.”

Redmond also said Ed Stacey and Carl Oprish will be assisting him again this year.

To volunteer, call (740) 537-4486.