MARSHALL - Thanks to warm hearts and unseasonably warm and pleasant weather, the Lyon County Christmas Kettle Campaign raised a record $28,000 last year - up from $17,000 in 2011, which at the time was a record for the county.
Monies raised during the kettle campaign went toward helping Lyon County residents with lodging, rent, gas and electrical utilities, transportation, auto repairs and medical needs. It also funded 350 backpacks for the Stuff the Bus program.
Last year was also JoAnn Dorman's first as volunteer coordinator.
Dorman said she would like to see this year's campaign meet or exceed what was raised a year ago and is also working hard to recruit volunteer bell ringers - either veterans or newcomers - either individually or in group form. She said she really would like to see more people volunteering as groups, like confirmation classes.
"We can hopefully get more families involved," she said. "(Last year) I was thrilled with how many people we actually added to the ringer schedule, and I'm hoping we can maintain that and see it increase. That would be great."
Dorman said the need for financial assistance remains high - both for families and for organizations that benefit from what the Salvation Army does every winter.
"I think a lot of people are still struggling," she said. "Unfortunately, the economy isn't turning around as quickly as we would like."
This year's Christmas Kettle Campaign kicks off Friday and goes through Dec. 24. Kettle sites will be at County Fair, Hy-Vee, K-mart and Shopko.
Dorman said she already has a group of youth involved with the Marshall Area YMCA signed up to ring this year, as well as one of the Marshall High School hockey teams.
If you would like to volunteer as a bell ringer, call Dorman at 537-4152 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.