TULLAHOMA, Tenn. — That famous red kettle and the ringing of bells is a familiar sight this time of year, and volunteers from The Salvation Army of Coffee and Moore Counties plans to have bell ringers outside local businesses throughout the month.
“The official title for those volunteers manning the red kettle bells is bell ringers,” said Pam Bussell, Salvation Army volunteer. “The Salvation Army will select a business, church or civic organization every Saturday and send out the kettle bell. Then from there they will select employees, church or civic organization members to man the kettle bells.”
She said The Salvation Army will raise $16,000 to $20,000 during its kettle bell fundraiser in Coffee and Moore counties.
“It is the biggest and only fundraiser we put on all year, and that provides us with the money necessary to operate for a whole year,” she said.
“All of the money that is raised stays in the counties,” said Bussell. “If you donate to any other organization similar to ours, that money may go to their national headquarters and then that money is sent to whoever they deem is needing that money.”
“We’re too small to start that program in this area,” said Bussell. “That option is available in cities like Nashville or Knoxville.”
Through its fundraising efforts, The Salvation Army of Coffee and Moore Counties has already helped 600 families this year, according to Bussell.
“We typically help between 700 and 800 families in Coffee County and 100 families in Moore County each year,” she said. “We’ve been servicing both counties for over 30 years.”
She said, “We have three regular volunteers who help with financial assistance for those in need on the first and third Tuesdays of every month.
“We can help with utilities bills, rent, back-to-school supplies and clothing, as well as medication and hotels for the homeless when needed.”
Bussell said the group’s service to the community is through volunteers only.
“We don’t have any paid staff, and the First Christian Church in Tullahoma has donated office space to us so we don’t have any overhead,” she said.
The Salvation Army also operates an angel tree campaign during the month of December. This year, the tree is located at Chick-fil-A restaurant on North Jackson Street.
“We have 25 volunteers helping with the angel tree program,” she said.
Bussell said The Salvation Army will assist 600 children during its Angel Tree campaign.
She said, “Since we don’t have enough room for physical donations, we only help with financial assistance. We ask that if people have clothing or supplies they want to donate they go to the Attic Outlet of the Good Samaritan.”
Partnership with Chick-fil-A
Assisting its fundraising efforts this year is Chick-fil-A in Tullahoma, which has teamed with the Salvation Army for the month of December to assist people in need of a hot lunch or dinner.
“The restaurant is partnering with The Salvation Army to provide food for local residents who otherwise may not have a hot meal this Christmas,” said Kate Hall, marketing director for Chik-fil-A.
Hall said when a customer donates money equal to the cost of a No. 1 combo meal, Chick-fil-A will, in turn, donate equal meal vouchers to The Salvation Army.
Hall said Chick-fil-A local operator Joseph Seabolt has agreed to match up to 200 meals.
While at the restaurant, diners are encouraged to visit The Salvation Army’s angel tree.
“Individuals who choose a child’s name from the restaurant’s The Salvation Army angel tree and return the items purchased to the restaurant by Dec. 10 will also receive a coupon for a free original chicken sandwich as a thank you,” said Hall.
“By purchasing a meal for someone less fortunate and also participating in the angel tree program, the community can join Chick-fil-A Tullahoma in the spirit of giving this holiday season.”
“We’ll be giving out meal vouchers at The Salvation Army Headquarters at First Christian Church at 120 W. Grundy St. in Tullahoma so they can get a free meal at Chick-fil-A until Dec. 31,” Bussell said.
For more information about The Salvation Army of Coffee and Moore counties, contact Bussell at 931-581-2094.
—By Jacqui Atkielski, Tullahoma News Staff Writer; Jacqui Atkielski can be contacted via email at <email@example.com>.