OSWEGO, NY – The holiday season is building up steam for its big finish at the end of this month.
For many, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are two of the most joyous times of the year.
However, in these tough economic times, that isn’t true for everyone.
" data-medium-file="https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/bellringer-LeeLynn-Shatraw-300x262.jpg" data-large-file="https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/bellringer-LeeLynn-Shatraw-460x403.jpg" class="size-medium wp-image-104063" title="bellringer LeeLynn Shatraw" src="http://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/bellringer-LeeLynn-Shatraw-300x262.jpg" alt="LeeLynn Shatraw puts a donation in one of the Salvation Army's kettles. She even helped ring the bell." width="300" height="262" srcset="https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/bellringer-LeeLynn-Shatraw-300x262.jpg 300w, https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/bellringer-LeeLynn-Shatraw-150x131.jpg 150w, https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/bellringer-LeeLynn-Shatraw-460x403.jpg 460w, https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/bellringer-LeeLynn-Shatraw-342x300.jpg 342w, https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/bellringer-LeeLynn-Shatraw.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />LeeLynn Shatraw puts a donation in one of the Salvation Army’s kettles. She even helped ring the bell.
“More and more people are finding it tougher these days just to make ends meet,” said Major Richard Best of the Salvation Army of Oswego County. “We want to do what we can to ensure everyone has a happy holiday season.”
A big part of whether they can do that or not depends on the outcome of the Salvation Army’s annual first ever county-wide red kettle drive.
There is no set goal, “but the funds from the kettle program do represent a large part of our revenues for the year,” the major explained.
The Salvation Army has kettles at more than a dozen businesses including: in Oswego: Paul’s Big M, JC Penney, Price Chopper, Kinney Drugs and Wal-Mart (two doors); in Fulton: Price Chopper, Struppler’s Market, Save-A-Lot and Wal-Mart (two doors); in Pulaski at Alan’s Hometown Market and Tops; in Mexico at the Big M; in Hannibal at the IGA; and in Central Square at Wal-Mart.
Tawny Montgomery and Colleen Emond were ringing the bell and greeting customers outside of the Oswego Wal-Mart Wednesday afternoon.
“We started out here around 2:30 and a lot of people have stopped. People have been very nice and giving,” Emond said.
“This is our first year doing this,” Montgomery added. “We’ve met some very nice people and hopefully raised a lot of money for the Salvation Army.”
Melissa Catalone is a veteran bell ringer.
“I’ve been doing this for a few years now. I enjoy meeting all the new people,” she told Oswego County Today. “If you’re nice to them, they’re nice to you.”
It was going very well at her kettle stand, she added.
“I enjoy doing this. I try to do it every year. I know how hard it can be for some people. So I do this to help the families,” she said.
“We can always use more bell ringers,” Major Best said. “We are a little thin in some places. We could use some help in Oswego and Fulton as well as Pulaski.”
The hours are flexible, he said, adding it would be a good project for church groups, athletic teams, civic clubs, “or any other groups or individuals.”
The Red Kettle Campaign is the most important fundraiser of the year for the Salvation Army, the major said. Money raised is used to provide local services and to help families in crisis throughout the year.
“We’re doing OK. But I hope we can do better,” he said.
They also need donations of toys and food for holiday baskets, he added.
“We’re really busy and we’ll stay that way right up to Christmas Eve,” he said.
For more information, call the Salvation Army at 343-6491 (from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or leave a message).