The Salvation Army has been campaigning with kettles since 1891, and this year is no exception. The kettles didn't die with the advent of Internet-based giving.
"There's just something about the physical thing of the kettle, the bell-ringing, the smiling face," said Captain Tim Nauta. "Maybe it encourages people to give when they wouldn't normally."
Nauta, of The Salvation Army here in Minot, said the majority of the funding that they receive in a year comes during the Christmas season, either through the red kettle campaign, or through donations made in other ways.
Jesse D. Watson/MDN
Captain Tim Nauta and The Salvation Army do good, with kettles and kindness.
Last year, the Salvation Army of Minot brought in $272,000. That might sound like a lot, but the amount of money the Minot Salvation Army spent during the flood was more than $1 million. "If The Salvation Army has one fault, it's that we don't toot our own horn," said Nauta. "We trust God will give us what we need."
He said their slogan is "Heart to God, hand to man," which he said means trusting that the tools necessary to help the needy will manifest. That faith is a cornerstone of the organization. "God's in control," he continued.
Nauta said people are more likely to give not just during the holiday season but in times of disaster, which might account for taking in more than usual last year. Since so much money was spent, it's a good thing. Their goal this year is $217,000.
The money The Salvation Army collects goes toward meeting people's basic needs, things like food, clothing, and rent assistance. Beneficiaries do need to meet some income guidelines to receive, but the need is still greater than ever now.
"Things like a mother who has to decide between buying her medications or feeding her childrenthat's more common (than we might realize)," said Nauta. "The economy is good in North Dakota, so it can be hard to remember that it's not so good other places."
But even here in Minot, with recovery from the flood still happening, and with the disparity between those making large incomes and others not making enough to cope with risen costs of food and rent, need is everywhere.
Every little bit that's donated helps, but one needn't give money to render assistance. The Salvation Army always has a great group of volunteers, said Nauta, and they could always use more, especially now with so many people still being busy elsewhere repairing their homes or public areas (such as the zoo) after the flood. The Salvation Army Thrift Store, food pantry and church all need volunteers to function, and there's always room for more bell-ringers at the kettles.
"It's a great, ready-made volunteer project," said Nauta.
The kettle campaign runs Nov. 23 until Dec. 24, Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., at eight different locations. Groups and individuals are both encouraged to call The Salvation Army office at 838-8925.