The red kettle was painted blue on Dec. 7 in honor of first responders who rang bells at the Godfrey Schnucks store. Left to right is Major John Franke, Investigations Secretary Jenny Fish, and Jarrett Ford, Alton Chief of Police. (Photo by Chief of Detectives, Lt. Dustin Christner)

ALTON – As the final days of The Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign approach, Madison County Corp. campaign co-chairs Dr. John and Barb Hoelscher urge the community to give generously.

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“We want to thank all of the bell ringers who have been so generous with their time, as well as the many businesses who have allowed us to put the red kettles inside and out at their establishments,” said Barb Hoelscher. “They are all key to the success of this fundraising effort to help the needy in our community. We are so grateful to all the nice folks who dig into their pockets whenever they see a red kettle. Their gifts are helping a fine charity provide food, clothing, and social services to people needing help.”

Everyone has certainly been affected by inflation and the tough economy this year, but those with low incomes have been hit especially hard, Dr. John Hoelscher said.

“That’s why supporting the work of our local Salvation Army is so important, the need is greater than ever and demands for their services are only increasing,” he added. “So please, lend a hand. Sign up to ring the bells at RegisterToRing.com, or mail your contribution to: Red Kettle Campaign, The Salvation Army, 525 Alby St., Alton, IL 62002.

"Your donations stay right here in our community. Donations received by January 31, 2022, will be attributed to the campaign and help The Salvation Army reach its goal of $217,500."

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As of Dec. 17, $86,941.76 has been raised to provide food and shelter for those in need. The total includes a gold coin valued at $180 dropped into a kettle at the Wood River Walmart on Dec. 3.

Alton Police Chief Jarrett Ford, who is also a Salvation Army Board member, said he and his fellow first responders were proud to take part in the bell ringing earlier in the month.

“I got involved as a board member and The Salvation Army discussed doing the first-responder day, so we did,” he said. “Several members of the police department took part and then the fire department also did it for several hours. It was a great time for everybody involved. People were amazingly generous and it was a good experience for us, too. It helped us all get in the Christmas spirit.”

Chief Ford stressed that the Salvation Army does so much good in the area with its various programs and the bell-ringing campaign helps pay for much of that.

He stressed that Cassy and Sean Grey, who lead the Alton Salvation Army, are both great people.

“The two have been amazing to have in the area,” he said.

If you can help ring bells, please sign up for a time and location on registertoring.com. If you can’t ring but want to help, please give generously. If you have any questions about the campaign, please call The Salvation Army Madison County Corps - Alton location at 618-465-7764.

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