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Witkos, LeGeyt Ring Bells for Salvation Army's Holiday Red Kettle Campaign

State Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-8) and State Rep. Tim LeGeyt (R-17) rang bells outside of the Avon Walmart on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

Credit: Jessie Sawyer
Credit: Jessie Sawyer
Every holiday season that you've shopped at the Avon Walmart on Route 44, you've probably noticed volunteers ringing bells and seeking donations to the Salvation Army for its social service programs. 

A state senator and representative serving Avon joined the cause Wednesday and rang bells to help in the collection efforts.

State Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-8) and State Rep. Tim LeGeyt (R-17), both of Canton, said they wanted to help the Red Kettle Campaign cause that helps so many people during the holiday season annually. The event was rescheduled from last week to Wednesday due to the inclement weather. 

"The Salvation Army does an amazing job helping people around the holidays. Every year I look forward to seeing their red kettles outside our local stores. The organization shows us again and again that small contributions from the entire community really can go a long way," Witkos said in a statement.

The Red Kettle Campaign raises money for Salvation Army programming that provides "toys for kids, coats for the homeless, food for the hungry and countless social service programs year-round," according to the website. The tradition started in the United States in 1891. 

LeGeyt praised the Salvation Army's efforts, writing in an email to Patch that "the Salvation Army is one of the most efficient providers of services to those in need and its reputation for caring and comprehensive service to disadvantaged people is renowned over the years."

By ringing bells, he said he hopes to draw attention to the fundraising campaign and the Salvation Army.

"I wanted to join the campaign and I hope that my time bell ringing will inspire all who pass to give whatever they can," Witkos said. "By working with Walmart, the company has agreed to match all the donations collected during my bell ringing time – an offer that embodies the Christmas spirit of giving. The fact that your spare change can help feed and clothe a family is an amazing concept, and I hope to bring everyone’s attention to the Salvation Army’s efforts."

For LeGeyt, the Salvation Army's cause has a personal meaning.

"My grandfather, a WWI veteran, said that the Salvation Army provided more to the Army troops in the European theater than the Red Cross," LeGeyt said. "It is a privilege for me to help the Salvation Army gain the funds that it uses so wisely and efficiently.  Walmart is an important player in this Red Kettle Bell Ringing project with their willingness to match the monies that go into the kettle dollar for dollar when a State Legislator is ringing the bell.  I'm honored to have that opportunity to contribute to the process."

The History of the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army's origins dates back to 1852 in England. William Booth, a new minister, "walked the streets London to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute," taking the message "to the people," according to the Salvation Army website. Many churches weren't accepting of his nontraditional methods or his followers, as many of his first "converts" were "thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards" in hopes to give them "spiritual guidance," the website states.

In 1865, he held "evangelist meetings" in a tent at a Quaker graveyard and by 1867 he had 10 people helping him, according to the Salvation Army. Come 1867, he had "1,000 volunteers and 42 evangelists, all serving under the name 'The Christian Mission,'" the website states. Some referred to him as "General" and people began calling the group the "Hallelujah Army." Upon reading a statement in the group's 1878 report that said "the Christian Mission is a volunteer army," he coined the name Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army made it to the United States in 1879 and the first meeting was in Philadelphia. 

For more information, visit the Salvation Army website or read about how you can start your own Red Kettle Campaign online
Jessie Sawyer (Editor) December 10, 2013 at 04:29 PM
This is postponed due to the weather. I'll let you know when I get more information.

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