A late start for bell ringers
Because Thanksgiving fell on the latest day possible this year, Salvation Army bell ringers will have fewer days to do their good work. Debbie Tichenor, chair of the Woodford County Salvation Army’s service unit, said there will only be 22 bell-ringing days this holiday season, as opposed to 25 or 26 most years. “Normally we have 640 bell-ringing volunteers, and this year, we only need 440 volunteers,” Tichenor said. The first bells will be rung at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29, at Kroger (two ringers at the main entrance and another at the entrance near the pharmacy) and Save-A-Lot. Volunteers will continue their work through Christmas Eve at 8 p.m. “This is the only time of year that we have an active campaign for the Salvation Army,” Tichenor said. “People can donate throughout the year, but as far as our campaign goes, this is the only time of year that we do it.” Tichenor said last year, about $30,000 was donated via the red kettles and about $22,000 to the Army’s Food Angel tree. Both figures were down from previous years, she said. This year there will be Angel trees at each Kroger entrance. Donors select an angel ornament and when they check out, the angel is scanned and a donation of $25 is made, after which the donor can hang the ornament at home. “ … It is a challenge to support the needy in our community. Every penny that we collect here in Woodford County stays in Woodford County,” Tichenor said. Among the recipients are Bluegrass Community Action, which uses the money for utility bills and rent assistance; the Food Pantry for Woodford County, the backpacks for kid’s program and Mentors and Meals, Tichenor said. A credit card machine at the main entrance of Kroger and a QR application for smart phones (set for $5 donations) at all four bell-ringing locations will make giving easier this year, she said. “(The) Salvation Army is attempting to keep up with the times …” Tichenor said, chuckling. Tichenor said aspiring bell-ringers need no special training – just a warm coat, comfortable shoes and a smile. “We always ring inside, so that’s an advantage to Woodford County. Our Kroger and our Save-A-Lot are very kind …” she said. Each shift is two hours. Children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult, and high school students can earn community service hours, Tichenor said. Persons interested in volunteering for bell-ringing shifts can call (859) 813-0340.