MORRIS – We Care of Grundy County announced this week that $20,119 was collected during The Salvation Army Bell Ringing campaign, which took place at Jewel and Walmart from Nov. 29 through Dec. 22.
This total includes the three gold coins that were donated during the first week of the collection, which contributed $1,875 to the total, according to a news release from We Care.
The amount collected was nearly $10,000 less than last year, when $30,071 was donated. Denise Gaska, We Care’s executive director and Red Kettle Drive coordinator, said the totals were “a bit disappointing” but noted there were six fewer days to ring due to a late Thanksgiving and frigid temperatures cost the organization more than two days of bell ringing.
“Despite the lower total, we are happy that Grundy County still continues to support this program in such a magnanimous fashion,” Gaska said in the news release. “We truly appreciate all those who took the time to ring bells for us and donate money to help their friends and neighbors in need.”
Donations are still be accepted; checks can be made out to The Salvation Army, and sent to We Care, 520 W. Illinois Ave, in Morris.
Because We Care coordinates this campaign in Grundy County on behalf of The Salvation Army, 80 percent – or $16,095 – will stay local for We Care to use to assist families in need throughout the year with rent, mortgage and utility payments. The remaining $4,024 will go to The Salvation Army regional office in Peoria for use in rural counties throughout Illinois and to cover administrative costs for the bell-ringing effort.
Groups that volunteered to ring bells this holiday season, with the total amount of money raised during their bell ringing assignments, were:
• Belinda Baxa’s Friends – $306.74
• Boy Scout Troop 471 – $499.82
• Brian Zabel & Associates – $610.62
• Century 21 – $306.74
• City of Morris Employees – $415.89
• Coal City United Methodist Church – $711.99
• Corleone’s – $297.61
• District 54 Teachers and Staff – $198.41
• First Baptist Church – $624.19
• First Christian Church – $1,580.17 • First Midwest Bank – $759.56 • First United Methodist Church – $2,778.09 • Friends in Christ Lutheran Church – $405.09 • Gardner South-Wilmington High School NHS – $569.14 • Grundy Bank – $506.62 • Immaculate Conception Church – $1,192.78 • Living Water Church of the Nazarene – $464.04 • Morris Community High School NHS – $337.10 • Morris Community High School Staff – $675.72 • Morris Fire Protection & Ambulance District – $478.41 • Morris Hospital – $370.31 • Morris Rotary – $877.13 • New Community Christian Church – $744.99
• Peace Lutheran Confirmation & Youth – $955.02
• Re-Max Top Properties – $143.83
• Righteous Renegade – $757.52
• Individuals who helped ring bells this year collected $1,932 and included: Sue Morse, Marlene and Don Ryder, Carmen Rodgers, Meredith and Kip Barnes, Kim Berta and Donna Workman, Kellene Fraime, Danielle Kuntzi, Ken and Julie Buck, Heidi and Greg Litchfield, Michelle Vrtis, Cindy Hopkins, Jaymee Cole, Jen and Don Surber, Alex Hansen, Paige Day, Lacy Melby, Arlene Eichelkraut, Wade Huntington, Michelle Rodriguez, Loretta Temple, Kara Goff, Theresa Butler and Kim Bordner.
• Members of We Care’s Board of Directors and staff who assisted by helping collect the kettles included: Dave Bzdill, Jo Christiansen, Kelly Dransfeldt, Maureen Keegan, Chuck Richardson, Lori Sandgren, Andy Womack, and Mike Wright and Tracy Zabel.