GRAYLING – A full staff of volunteers and generous donors made this the most successful Red Kettle Drive ever.
Grayling runs a different approach to this annual event. For three eight-hour days volunteers ring bells and ask residents to consider a donation to help residents in need make it through the winter with essential needs like keeping the heat on.
Other communities run longer donation bell ringing periods and have struggled to find adequate numbers of bell ringers. That has not been the case in Grayling. The initial call for volunteers goes out and many times we have them competing after the same time slot. Several volunteers pressure organizers a year in advance for their favorite shift. The three-day format gives most residents the chance to donate and does not wear down the volunteers putting the event on.
One of the last donors this year had a special story. Cora Rose Gomez Holdren, age five, showed up with a donation. She lives locally with her parents. Her mother is a homemaker and her father is a full-time teacher and coordinator at Kirtland Community College with a PHD in electrical engineering. What makes her story a little bit more than interesting is that her great grandparents were full-time Salvation Army Officers. They moved their family frequently as assignments changed. Her donation was something her Grandparents would be especially proud of.
Last year’s bell ringing effort yielded $3,200. We have several donors that drop off checks of $100 and we have a couple organizations that send checks directly to the Christian Help Center at 300 Huron St. Grayling, MI 49738, Phone 989-348-6046. They administer Salvation Army Duties for the county.
This year’s bell ringing had a remarkable third day when someone, wanting to remain anonymous, dropped off a check for $1,000, bringing this year’s total for bell ringing to over $4,000. The generosity and willingness of the Grayling community to volunteer is heartwarming, especially at this time of the year.