CHI Health Schuyler leaders are hoping to hear the bells ringing on weekends through the rest of the year, but need the community’s support to make it happen.
CHI Health Schuyler, 104 W. 17th St., is the corporate sponsor of The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle program. The initiative first began in 1891 in San Francisco as a way to provide a good meal to less fortunate people on Christmas. As part of it, each year volunteers take shifts to stand beside a kettle and ring a bell at a designated location to raise funds for the nonprofit.
“For us, our belief is it fits very well with our mission at CHI Health being a faith-based organization,” said Hospital President Connie Peters, lead coordinator for the local Red Kettle campaign. “It’s just one of the things we do to help give back to the community and raise funds for people in need – people who have needs in our community.”
Funds raised specifically stay in Colfax County to help residents throughout the year with emergency aid, special projects and more, Peters noted.
“They come to us for emergency relief, they come for backpacks and school supplies for their children,” Peters said. “We really do try to fill a gap in our community. It’s everything from coats for children, to heat in a home and basic essential human needs. We are here to serve our community and make Colfax County a better place to live and grow.”
Claudia Lanuza, project and foundation coordinator at CHI Health in Schuyler, had a similar perspective.
“It is an opportunity for us to come together as a community and help those in need. Knowing that what is donated stays local makes a difference when people give, and also realizing that what is raised during these weeks helps people out throughout the entire year,” she said. “The Christmas season is about giving and helping others, and what better way to do that than by being a part of this campaign. My family has participated in the bell-ringing for a couple of years now, and we hope to continue ringing every year. It's a great way to volunteer as a family - it is simple enough that even the youngest child can help, yet the impact is huge."
CHI Health had about 200 volunteers pitch in last year and is hoping to have at least that many for this year’s campaign, which kicked off a couple of weeks ago and will wrap sometime around New Year’s Day. Once again the kettles will be out and ringing all day Saturday and Sunday each weekend throughout the month in front of Didier’s Grocery, 122 W. 16th St., in Schuyler. Generally, volunteers work a shift of 30 minutes to an hour. Bell ringers, as a group, spend about four hour in the morning and another four in the afternoon raising funds.
Those interested in volunteering between now and the end of the year can call Peters at 402-352-4077 or at 402-690-3079.
“We work with a tremendous amount of volunteer groups and individuals who help us run this campaign,” Peters said. “This is just a great opportunity to get out, celebrate the season and give back. We’re always looking for more volunteers.”
Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at email@example.com.