PLATTSBURGH — It may be snowy and cold outside, but hearts in North Country communities are warm with generosity.
Several organizations work year round to serve the needs of people who fall on hard times. Some get busy during the holiday season to raise funds that will not only supply food and gifts for Christmas but help the needy all year round.
One of the busiest charities is the Salvation Army. Through its Red Kettle Campaign, bell ringers beckon passers-by to drop a little money in to help with expenses to serve local people.
This year’s fundraising is right on track, according to Envoy Frank Smith, who is the commander at the Plattsburgh site.
“We lost a week this year (getting out with the kettles) because Thanksgiving was late in the month,” he told the Press-Republican.
“But we are moving along pretty smoothly. This is a very giving community.”
BELL RINGERS NEEDED
Smith said proceeds are about one-third of the goal to cover Christmas dinner for anyone who needs it, along with a soup kitchen that runs three times a week all year.
“We also provide clothing vouchers through our thrift store,” he added. “People run into all types of emergencies, and we are here to help the needy.”
Although it has become necessary to have paid bell ringers, there are still groups, such as Rotary and Kiwanis, whose members volunteer their time.
Smith said an average of 16 sites are active, and there is always a need for more volunteer bell ringers to keep expenses down.
There haven’t been any surprises, this year, he said.
“But we’re still looking for that gold coin,” he said, referring to last year’s campaign, when a valuable coin was anonymously deposited in a red kettle.
‘LIGHT UP A LIFE’