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Pocatello Salvation Army launches bell-ringing campaign

November 22, 2018

POCATELLO -- The local Salvation Army is already off to a good start toward meeting a $75,000 fundraising goal for this season’s bell-ringing fundraising campaign, thanks to a Red Kettle Kickoff event hosted Nov. 10.

Lt. Tami Moore, the officer in charge of the Pocatello Salvation Army, which serves all of Bannock County, said the organization sponsored a special dinner theater at Westside Players. After expenses, it raised $7,100 to start the campaign.

it was the first time the local organization has hosted a kickoff event for its bell-ringing campaign. It was organized by the organization’s advisory board, Moore said.

Moore said several local businesses and individuals booked tables for the special performance -- a one-man play featuring Geoffrey Bennett. Sponsors with tables included: Idaho Power, Wayne Taysom, Portneuf Medical Center, Wells Fargo Finance, Allstate Insurance, Ireland Bank, Greg Johnston and Dave Packer, Edward Jones, D.L. Evans Bank, Butler Builders, Jeeves Ads and Centennial Rotary Club. Several individuals also bought tickets to support the event, she said.

Moore said the local Salvation Army fell just $300 short of its $70,000 campaign goal last year. A few times last season, Moore said $100 bills were found inside kettles.

“This is our biggest fundraiser,” she said. “This basically sets the standard of what we’re going to be able to do in the community.”

Last year, Moore said the revenue helped the organization start a program that provided 20 children from low-incomes homes with new clothing for school. It also helped them to keep the soup kitchen open and provide gas vouchers, lodging assistance and Christmas assistance.

Moore said Salvation Army has seen strong demand for all of its programs lately.

In Pocatello, Salvation Army bell ringers will be stationed outside of two Walgreens locations, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Walmart, Shopko and Smith’s. Moore said they’ll be accepting donations daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., except on Sundays, through Christmas Eve. She has five staff members who will work as bell ringers, but needs more volunteers.

“We’re getting quite a few (volunteers). Yesterday I had a nice bunch of them call, but there are still a lot of openings,” Moore said.

Sanju Choudhury is among the volunteer bell-ringers representing Centennial Rotary Club. He’s taken a lot of personal satisfaction from the service and believes maintaining an energetic and positive attitude has been a key to maximizing donations in his kettle. He plans to be a bell-ringer for a long time to come.

“You’ve got to be happy, friendly and excited about what you’re doing,” Choudhury said.

A Nov. 18 report by MSN shows local families face a growing need for assistance. According to the report, which used data from 24/7 Wall St. and the U.S. Census Bureau, the Pocatello metropolitan area was the Idaho community hardest hit by poverty.

The report shows the Pocatello area’s poverty rate climbed from 13.8 percent in 2010 to 18.3 percent in 2016. The report also indicated the Pocatello area has two neighborhoods in which at least 40 percent of residents live in poverty, though those neighborhoods weren’t specified.

Nationally, the report shows the number of Americans living in poverty climbed from 13.8 percent to 15.1 percent between 2010 and 2016.

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