Bell ringers sought for 2 locations in Orleans for annual holiday Red Kettle Drive

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Representatives of three local organizations have joined to carry on the annual tradition of the Red Kettle Drive for The Salvation Army. Meeting here are, clockwise from left, Renee Hungerford, director of Community Action; Nyla Gaylord, director of development at United Way of Orleans County; Katrina Chaffee, director of community services for Community Action; Jackie Dunham, COO at Community Action; and Bob Harker, director of the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern. The team is in need of volunteer bell ringers for Walmart in Albion and Tops in Medina.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 22 November 2022 at 9:19 pm

One of the most recognizable holiday traditions throughout the world is The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign, and this week representatives of three local organizations met to plan the drive in Albion and Medina.

For decades, the Red Kettle Drive has been overseen by Annette Finch, former director of emergency services at Community Action of Orleans and Genesee. But last year, when Finch announced her retirement, the drive was left in jeopardy.

Community Action reached out to United Way of Orleans County, whose board felt they didn’t have the manpower to take it over, but agreed to help in any way they could.

On Tuesday morning, Community Action personnel Renee Hungerford, director; Katrina Chaffee, director of emergency services and Jackie Dunham, COO, met with Nyla Gaylord, director of development at United Way; and Bob Harker, director of Ministry of Concern, to discuss plans for the Red Kettle Campaign.

Their biggest concern is the need for volunteer bell ringers. Where, in the past, bell ringers have been stationed throughout the county, this year there will only be two locations with bell ringers – Walmart in Albion and Tops in Medina. Table top kettles will be place in several locations, including the Country Club Restaurant and Rudy’s in Medina.

“We expect the drive to be a struggle in this day and age, as so many people don’t carry cash,” Hungerford said.

The Salvation Army is promoting displays of their QR code, which people can simply scan in with their smart phone to make a donation. The donation will go to The Salvation Army serving the zip code of their phone.

Bell ringers will only be needed Wednesday (Nov. 23) and Fridays and Saturdays until Christmas. Volunteers can go on the Sign-up Genius website and see when bell ringers are needed and sign up there.

Harker has sent letters to local churches, asking them to put kettles in their facilities. Any other business who would like a table top kettle to display may contact Harker at 589-9210.

Residents are reminded that all money donated to The Salvation Army in Orleans County stays in Orleans County. Funds collected are divided between Community Action and the Ministry of Concern to help people in need, especially to provide funding for kids to go to camp.

“This is a wonderful way to help kids and these two organizations under the umbrella of The Salvation Army,” Gaylord said.

Click on the link to sign up to volunteer at Walmart in Albion: Bell Ringers: Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign – Bell Ringing at Walmart (

Click on the link to sign up to volunteer at Tops in Medina: Bell Ringers at Medina TOPS Friendly Markets: Salvation Army Campaign – TOPS – Medina (

The Red Kettle team is urging volunteer bell ringers to be creative.

“Start a family tradition. Bring your kids, pets, musical instruments, smiles and carolers,” Gaylord said. “Help spread the spirit of Christmas throughout Orleans County.”

The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 by minister William Booth in England. The Red Kettle Campaign was started by a Salvation Army officer in 1891 in Liverpool. By 1897 the effort had spread across the eastern United States, and that year resulted in 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy in Boston. The Salvation Army now serves in 131 countries.