Cathy Monroe, service center director for the county Salvation Army, said students who are members of Cherokee High School’s National Honor Society and Future Farmers of America, and students from River Ridge High School will volunteer their time this year.
Bell ringers will be stationed at all Kroger supermarkets and Wal-Mart Supercenters throughout the county, the Belk department store at Canton’s RiverStone Plaza, and at Big Lots in Woodstock.
Bell ringers started collecting donations at Kroger on Nov. 18 and began their campaign at Wal-Mart, Big Lots and Belk on Friday.
Their hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays at Kroger, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays at Wal-Mart and Big Lots, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays at Belk.
Members of the Rotary Club of Canton and Rotary Club of Cherokee County will also serve as bell ringers this year.
The kettle drive, which began in 1891, is the Salvation Army’s main source of revenue. Money raised through the kettle drive is put back into Cherokee to help residents in need.
Monroe said the goal this year is $98,000, and she said she feels confident county shoppers will pull through.
Last year, Monroe said she set a goal of $75,000, but donors contributed $97,000.
“It was great,” she said. “We were thrilled and it was right there at the last minute.”
Along with adding Big Lots to the list of stores, Monroe said volunteers will also serve as monitors to make sure bell ringers remain warm, and will provide them with hot chocolate and coffee if needed.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “I think it’s going to be wonderful.”
Bert Grant, a member of the Rotary Club of Cherokee County’s board of director, said this is the fifth year in which Rotarians have offered their services to the Salvation Army.
Grant said 10 Rotarians have signed up for the initiative. They will ring the bell from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at Wal-Mart Supercenter in Canton.
“As far as I’m concerned, the Salvation (Army) is one of the best charitable organizations in the country,” he said. “It’s our honor to try and help them out during the Christmas season by ringing the bell.”
Cherokee High School principal Debra Murdock said she was glad to see her students once again give back to the community, adding she was “extremely proud” to see students aware of the less fortunate.
She also said Cherokee students are “learning what it means to be a global citizen by their service to those in need.”
“These students are truly exceptional examples of the teenagers that we have in our community, who selflessly give their time and talents to great causes like the Red Kettle campaign,” she said.