Inside Keest Center, interim director Tony Shuff was also in a
quandary. Christmas was really only a few days away. The bell ringer
program was the primary fundraiser for the local chapter, and it
hadn't begun. He, too, was asking, "Where are the bell ringers?"
On Dec. 9 LDN interviewed Shuff about the Red Kettle drive. He said
the goal for the year was $26,000. At that time, he had one bell
ringer and several "silent kettles" out in the community. He was
looking for volunteers who would ring the bells even for a day or a
He told LDN on that day that if he could even come close to
reaching the annual goal, he would fall to his knees and thank God,
because it was going to take something close to a miracle to
Last week, Shuff sat down with LDN once again. Three months into
his position, he is now the official director of the local chapter.
Shuff works at the Keest Center and has the help of his
wife, Pam, when needed.
The first thing on the agenda was to discuss what happened last
year with the Red Kettle program.
Shuff said the drive ended with a total collection of $23,000, an
amazing figure for basically only 2 1/2 weeks of work.
He said he has much to be thankful for to God and to the
community that did God's work.
"We ended up with four bell ringing locations locally and one at
the IGA in Mason City. We had hoped we could get $15,000 to $17,000,
but the money just kept coming in," Shuff said. "I know one day
there were five volunteers sitting in here counting money. It took
the better part of two hours for them to get done, and when they had
finished, there was $9,000."
Shuff said the mail-in donations were a huge part of the
fundraiser this year.
"We have that set up for the checks to go directly to the bank
now, so I don't see the actual check, but I get the deposit
statement from the bank. In one bank statement alone, we had over
$6,000 donated by mail," he said.
Shuff said none of it would have been possible without those who
cared enough about the work of the Salvation Army to give, and not
only their cash, but also their time.
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In the end, Shuff said Jefferson Street Christian Church members
volunteered to be bell ringers for a day, as did Open Arms Christian
Fellowship, Kroger employees, folks from Christian Village and a
Rotary Club youth program.
Shuff said it was indeed something close to a miracle that the
local chapter was able to come up with such a nice sum of money in
only about 2 1/2 weeks. He said it just goes to show what can happen
in this community when people are made aware that there is a need.
Shuff said it takes just over $60,000 annually for the Salvation
Army to run a program in Logan County. The Red Kettle program is the
largest contributor to those costs, but mail-in donations also come
in throughout the year. The balance is picked up by the district and
state levels of the organization.
This answers one question that many people have about fundraising
in general: "Does the money stay local?"
Shuff said it was quite apparent that in Logan County the money
stays local because it takes more to run the program than the local
chapter can provide.
This concludes Part 1 of a series. In the next segment, Shuff
will begin answering the often-asked question, "What is Keest Center
being used for?"
[By NILA SMITH]
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