Local Salvation Army chapter starts red kettle drive

Clarence Plank

The Salvation Army Service Extension and churches of Roosevelt County are working together to help people in need across Roosevelt County.

“This was the first weekend for our bell ringers,” Central Christian Church Pastor Dave McVey said Friday. He is the bell ringer coordinator and money administrator. “There is a bell ringer at Wal-Mart and another one at Super Save. The money we collect in the kettles stays in Roosevelt County and then we distribute it on behalf of the churches and civic organizations involved with people in the community.”

The money helps provide food and shelter for the homeless or someone about to lose their home, or to pay water, gas or electric bills, medicine, and transportation for medical reasons.

“We help accordingly or if we’re able to,” McVey said. “We don’t always pay large sums of money out, but we try to help people to have the basic needs during a crisis or difficult time.”

McVey said each of the last two years the red kettle collected $11,000. He’s hoping to top that amount this season, noting there is increased need.

Churches involved in the campaign include Central Christian Church, University Baptist Church, First Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church and Trinity Family Assembly of God. Also civic groups such as Portales Rotary Club, Portales Lions Club and Portales Kiwanis Club and other individuals from the community have joined in to help.

Paul Hayes of Clovis is a member of Portales Lion’s Club and is an information systems instructor in the college of business at Eastern New Mexico University.

“This is my second year being a bell ringer,” said Hayes, who volunteered to take collections for two hours. “The only thing I do when it comes to get donations is just smile and they smile back. Most everyone is friendly whether they donate or not. Portales is a very friendly community.”

Hayes said he enjoys people and there is a small amount of personal satisfaction in helping others.

Bell ringers will be taking collections Friday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Wal-Mart and Super Save.