Rotary wins bell-ringing contest

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Rotary wins bell-ringing contestIn the Salvation Army’s annual Bell Ringing competition between the Kiwanis and the Rotary Club of China Lake, the clear winner was the Rotary Club.

The Kiwanis Club members took turns ringing the bell to raise funds for the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Fundraising Drive. While usually the two clubs hold their competition the same day at two different locations, this year they both chose to compete at Walmart, on two different days.

Kiwanis came out on Dec. 15, taking turns between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. The Kiwanis team collected a total of $636.37 for the Salvation Army.

On Dec. 22 the Rotarians volunteered during the same hours. Their team collected a total of $978.17, making them the winners.

“We always enjoy it. Everyone loves to get out and ring the bells. We have fun challenging Kiwanis every year,” said Patti Wharton, president of the China Lake Rotary Club. “It’s really fun to watch the little kids come up and put in their pennies.”

“The competition is all in good fun,” said David Saint-Amand, past president. “This way, we help others in the community. That makes standing in the cold all worthwhile.”

According to Envoy Donna Griffin of the Salvation Army, the two clubs have been holding this friendly competition for at least 15 years. She will go to the next meetings of both clubs, and award a Bell Trophy for first place to Rotary and one for second place to Kiwanis to thank them for their efforts.

Overall, the 2012 Red Kettle Drive brought in a grand total of $23,463.37, which will be a big part of the agency’s total operating budget for the year.

Every bit of that money was donated locally, and 87 percent of it will be spent locally to help those in need. Ten percent is tithed, and only three percent goes into overhead.

Among the year-round services the Salvation Army provides are emergency services, such as helping fire victims with food, clothing, rent, and so on; lifeline utilities and prescriptions, depending on circumstances; the ongoing community food pantry for those in need and much more.

Seasonal services include the holiday food baskets, Christmas toys for local children in need (working with Toys for Tots), coat drive and more. In the summer, the Salvation Army sends underprivileged youngsters to camp.

Coming up in February will be the Boy Scouts’ annual food drive, as well as the annual Souperbowl Auction. On Feb. 7 the Salvation Army will hold a soup dinner, where donated items will be auctioned off. Watch for further details.

“Last year we made about $18,000 at our Souperbowl Auction,” said Griffin. “We’re looking for auction items to be donated.” If you have items to give, call the Salvation Army at 760-375-7219 or go to 151 N. Downs St. weekdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

“We thank everyone in the community for their support during the holidays,” said Griffin.

Story First Published: 2013-01-09