Cub Scouts man Salvation Army kettle drive

December 14, 2003|EMILY BURTON

The weather outside brought hope of a white Christmas as snow fell on Saturday outside Krogers. Inside the entry foyer, shoppers brought with them gusts of cold air that sent patrons hurrying past the cluster of Cub Scouts surrounding a cherry-red kettle from the Salvation Army.

Scouts decked out in winter warmers rang a bell and sang Christmas carols as civic-minded shoppers slipped handfuls of change and folded dollars into the kettle, to benefit needy families this season.

Heidi Baker, a den leader of Cub Scout Troop 327, smiled at each person passing whether they donated or not. She is an old hand at this, having served as a volunteer to a multitude of different causes. On Saturday she and her troops donated their time helping the Salvation Army raise money for their red kettle campaign, a holiday drive to help needy families in the area with Christmas dinner and gifts.


"It's going really well right now," said Baker. "So far, this year has been a lot better. We've seen more bills than coins."

"This Cub Scout group has been wonderful. They've also stuffed stocking for us," said Salvation Army Captain Zack Bell.

While collecting coins for Christmas is a major benefit of the campaign, Baker said the ringing of the bell and the smiles shared by donators was also helping her troops learn the importance of philanthropy. The troop is working towards their community service badge in the process.

"The reason I'm out here today is to get my badge, but more importantly, to let those who need help get money," said Webelo Scout Ben Saylor.

"I feel community service is very important, and to teach them that at a young age so when they get older they will do it because they want to, not because they have to," said Baker.

When not ringing bells and singing carols in a chilly doorway, Baker has lived by those convictions.

"I've always volunteered, ever since I've been little," said Baker with a smile and a shrug.

Last year, she stood shivering outside Wal-Mart to ring a Salvation Army bell.

"Everybody would walk by and say, 'It's cold, isn't it?'," said Baker. "My toes were frozen. I had them curled up under me. Then somebody bought me socks!"

Baker said that gift of a three-pack of socks has become her favorite volunteering memory.

"I called Skunk radio the next morning and told them, 'I'd like to thank the person who bought me socks'," said Baker.

Volunteers like Baker have become the backbone of the Red Kettle drive this year, said Bell. Thanks to their dedication, the Danville kettle campaign is the only one in the state manned by volunteers alone. Bell said he couldn't thank the volunteers enough for their dedication, which has brought the Salvation Army $20,000 closer to their $53,000 goal.

"The goal is up from last year, but we've seen an increase in need," said Bell. The money collected in local kettles will help buy food, clothing and toys for needy area families.

Kettles are located at Wal-Marts in Danville, Harrodsburg and Stanford as well as Peebles, K-mart, Kroger in Danville and the Pamida food center in Liberty.

Despite falling temperatures and drifting snow, Bell and Baker said they hoped people saw the need for compassion this season and would help fill kettles, and bellies, in the community.

"We're only a troop of 18, but we're going to make a big impact on Danville this year," said Baker. "No matter how difficult your own life is, somebody else has it worse."

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