GRAFTON—The sounds of the holiday season filled the air in downtown Grafton on Saturday, as the Salvation Army National Capital Brass Band performed holiday hits to help the organization kick off their Red Kettle Campaign.
According to Grafton Salvation Army Captain Denise Stewart, the band made the trip from the Washington, D.C. area to help usher in a season of giving in Grafton.
“They are like a traveling party,” said Stewart. “Not only do they bring amazing musical talent, but they are truly fun to be around.”
The National Capital Band (NCB), part of the Potomac Division of The Salvation Army, has been The Salvation Army’s musical ambassador in the surrounding region since 1925.
The band’s players are committed members of Salvation Army corps, who volunteer their time and talents to the NCB. The band performs at over 20 events annually, in addition to its weekly rehearsals, making them the perfect outfit to come and lift the spirits of the county’s residents and guests.
During the two-day span of musical performances, the Grafton Salvation Army had one of their iconic red buckets set up to collect donations from community members.
“One little boy stopped to make a donation, and when he dropped his money in the kettle, I told him that the band would play a song for him,” Stewart told. “He picked his song, and they began playing. The smile across his face was huge as he left, and that to me made the day worthwhile.”
And while the performances were the perfect way to kick off the annual campaign, Stewart shared that this year, the local branch of the Salvation Army is struggling to see folks signing up to be bell ringers.
“We have had very few people sign up, and that is somewhat concerning to us,” she explained. “The money we receive from our Red Kettles helps to fund our programs throughout the year.”
In addition to aiding with the purchase of gifts for their forgotten angels at Christmas time and putting food on the table and in the bellies of those who find themselves down on their luck, the money is used to fuel other yearly operations including winter relief.
Winter relief is program that provides assistance with utility bills during the colder months, including gas, water and electric bills.
In essence, the Red Kettle Campaign provides the lifeblood of the local branch of the Salvation Army, which serves Taylor, Barbour and Randolph Counties, so the Grafton Salvation Army is desperately looking for individuals to help with this year’s campaign.
“We really need individuals to come out and act as bell ringers for us. The position pays well, which can help to put more money in the hands of folks right before Christmas,” Stewart shared.
And while ringers can earn some extra cash in their pockets, becoming a bell ringer is also a great way to volunteer your time.
“This is the perfect opportunity for groups, clubs, organizations or individuals to strengthen their bonds with the community through volunteerism,” Stewart voiced.
According to Stewart, there is no age requirement for bell ringers, as long as children are accompanied by an adult of at least 18 years of age or older.
Those interested in becoming bell ringers may pick up an application at the Grafton Salvation Army, located at 111 Beech Street, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
In addition, those wishing to apply for the position may do so by visiting the Salvation Army of Grafton’s new website, salvationarmypotomac.org/grafton/. There, individuals may also learn about additional programs aimed at helping those in need.
For more information on the program, or to obtain a list of available dates and times, please call the Salvation Army at 304-265-3565.
“Our need for bell ringers is great right now, and honestly we are slightly concerned. But our communities have always been outstanding at helping us out, and we are putting our faith out there that they will come through again this year so that we may continue with our mission to help those in need,” Stewart imparted.