To the Editor:

The 2020 Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign presented extraordinary challenges.

Gone was a bell-ringing location due to Market Fresh closing. We lost a day at Brandon Meats due to the weather. Include the pandemic, we did not want anybody ringing bells if they did not feel safe and the total number of hours that we had volunteers available to ring bells was reduced dramatically.

Because of the pandemic we anticipate that the need will be greater in 2021 than it was in 2020. And, because of the reduced hours of Red Kettle bell-ringing, we were concerned as to what the financial impact would be.

However, due to the incredible generosity of people donating, the total collected ended up nearly matching 2019’s record total ($110 less). And hearts to all the organizations and individual volunteers who rang bells — Prairie View Masonic Lodge, Ripon Noon Kiwanis, Trinity Church, Ripon Rotary, Ripon Lions Club, Accurate Controls, Ripon College Athletic Department, First Congregational Church, Our Saviour’s UCC, Horicon Bank, Brandon Tanager’s 4-H Club, Webster’s Marketplace and the Baker and Webster Families.

Thank you to Walgreens, Webster’s Marketplace and Brandon Meats for allowing us to ring bells at their locations in these uncertain times. Thank you to all the businesses that allowed us to put out Counter Kettles to collect donations. Thank you to Horicon Bank for its invaluable assistance in counting the money and handling deposits. And we would be remiss not to include a lifetime thank you to BMO Harris Bank for providing its banking service to the Ripon Area Salvation Army for many years.

And a very special thank you to Rob and Kathy Webster for matching the amount raised at Webster’s Marketplace on Dec. 18 and 19.

In the past Salvation Army fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2019 to Sept. 30, 2020), the monies raised from the 2019 Red Kettle campaign were used to write nearly 200 vouchers to help people with rent, utilities, lodging and other needs. In addition, money was given to both the Santa Club and Wishes and Wonders to help people who otherwise would not have been able to celebrate Christmas.

Thanks to the efforts of all the volunteers, and the tremendous generosity of all the donors, the Ripon Area (Brandon, Fairwater, Rosendale) Salvation Army should be able to meet the need in 2021.

— Stephanie Sauerbrei

Red Kettle Coordinator 2020

1188 West Fond du Lac St.

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