BC Salvation Army Will Be Ringing the Bells Once Again

TR Staff
Staff Writer

By Ellie Boese
A red kettle. A bell. A dressed-up Santa Clause or maybe just an apron-clad regular joe. We see them outside stores and on sidewalks throughout the holiday season. They’re so common that we even see them in movies, perhaps entering the scene for a moment as the holiday protagonist walks downtown.
The Salvation Army of Barnes County will start ringing the bells again on November 23rd, with Tim Kadrmas taking the reins as brand new Red Kettle Campaign Chairman. He takes Joe Lunde’s place in the position as Lunde steps down after 6 years.
Last year alone, Barnes County Salvation Army provided assistance on 296 different days, providing over $41,000 to 675 people in the area. With that money, people who might otherwise be overlooked had help affording meals, lodging, healthcare, clothing, rent, utilities, transportation and more.
“The need for all kinds of help is out there,” Lunde says.
Lee Isensee, Barnes County Salvation Army Chairman, agrees. “Our year begins in October, and the need has already started off great,” he says. “It’s just unbelievable how much need there is in Valley City.”
Since October, when the Salvation Army’s 2018/19 year began, Barnes County has already helped 34 people with $4,260 in funds. That averages out to about one person per day.
And it doesn’t matter who is in need. The Salvation Army is built upon the notion that nothing excludes people from getting the help they need. It’s vitally important to Isensee for people to understand that about the organization’s mission.
“Salvation Army is a Christian organization. We do not discriminate at all,” Isensee says. “We feel that our whole mission is that everything within the Salvation Army is inspired by God. The bell ringers – the Holy Spirit touches the heart of many to ring the bell and to put money in the kettle. It is God-based.”
Kadrmas, Lunde, and Isensee also want to be sure the community knows how best to donate their time or money to the organization. It’s something perhaps not many people know about how local units, or extensions, of the Salvation Army operate.
“Something I didn’t realize a few years ago is the fact that when you donate and send it into the national organization in the mail, that stuff doesn’t stick around here,” Kadrmas says. “The stuff that goes in there,” he points to the kettle, “stays here. As long as a check is in our kettle, it goes right back to benefit this community.”
“Put your envelope in the kettle and it’ll stay here,” Isensee reiterates. “Even if you receive a letter from headquarters asking for funds with a local address, if you want that money to stay local, you want to drop it straight into the kettle.”
Locally, the support Barnes County residents give the Salvation Army is overwhelming. As an extension unit of the Salvation Army, Barnes County raises more money each year than any other county in North Dakota. If you consider Barnes County’s standing among North Dakota and Minnesota counties, they rank third in funds raised each year, only behind two counties that are suburbs of Minneapolis.
“93% of that money raised goes back to the people,” Isensee says. “In 2009 during the flood, we spent $150,000 in Valley City.”
All local people involved in the Salvation Army are volunteers, giving their time and compassion to those who are struggling. They hope that their role in the community and their presence can inspire others to do the same, even if it’s just by ringing the bell for a few hours this holiday season.
“We want to give thanks to the TR and KOVC, because it’s the support that you've given us that we’ve gotten all the stuff out to the people, so they know where the money is going,” Isensee says. “And that’s the difference.
Their goal this year is to raise $60,000 for providing assistance throughout the county community. To help them achieve this, you can get involved by volunteering to ring the bell this month and next or stop by and drop some money in the kettle. Call Tim Kadrmas at 701-490-1044, and don't forget to welcome him to his new role as chairman of the Red Kettle Campaign.