Red Kettle drive in full swing


November 25, 2017

Ian Minielly/Daily Globe

KYLE RAMME gives to the Red Kettle drive outside Walgreens in Ironwood on Friday. John Tincher stands behind Ramme with the traditional bell to ring in the holiday and giving season.


Ironwood - This year's Red Kettle drive by volunteers for the Salvation Army is being conducted at Walgreens in Ironwood.

Jaime Stiffarm, involved with the drive for the past 18 years, said the Salvation Army has a contract with Walgreens nationwide to host red kettles and bell ringers through the holidays.

According to Stiffarm, the bell ringers will be present at Walgreens from 9-6 p.m. daily until Christmas Eve, when they stop ringing at 3 p.m. The bell ringing slots are two hours in duration and Stiffarm said they have this weekend covered, but there are plenty of open slots for people to volunteer at Walgreens and ring in good cheer.

The money donated through the Red Kettle drive stays in Gogebic and Iron counties.

Stiffarm said with the money the local Salvation Army is able to help assist veterans with transportation to the hospital and with medicine costs for different treatments, like cancer. One of the other areas the Salvation Army steps forward to assist the community is with homeless people.

Stiffarm said, "If I could make one wish this year it would be for a donor who could enable us to operate for a couple of years." Stiffarm said they have received endowments from estates in the past that have funded the Salvation Army and when asked how can a person do this, she said a prospective donor has to clearly state in his will he wants the money to go to the Salvation Army of Iron and Gogebic counties.

If a person's estate is directed to the two local counties, the local arm of the Salvation Army receives 100 percent of the estate. However, if a person just says he wants the money to go to the Salvation Army without specifying Iron and Gogebic counties, the money is divided up among the different levels and the area would only receive a percentage from the estate.

According to the Salvation Army's website, "They exist to meet human need wherever, whenever, and however we can." Approximately 25 million Americans are assisted on an annual basis and the Salvation Army is present in 128 countries around the globe. Over 1.5 million members, from officers to soldiers, to adherents, work within the organization and have been pursuing the fundamental mission since 1865.

William Booth is the founder of the Salvation Army, according to the history page. Booth left the traditional pulpit in favor of taking the Gospel directly to people in the streets of London. There is no doubt Booth heard plenty of discouraging words from other pulpits as he ventured to change the world at street level with pimps, prostitutes and drunkards hearing the good news of Jesus. The history page describes the scorn and ridicule traditional pastors held for Booth and his early efforts, but he persisted.

Booth crossed out the words "volunteer army" in an 1878 annual report and penned "Salvation Army" in its place. Those converted through the efforts of the Salvation Army were deemed Salvationists and between 1881-1885 over 250,000 people were converted to Christianity in England. The seventh child of William and Catharine Booth brought the Salvation Army to the United States and spent 30 years as national commander.

People looking to volunteer with the Salvation Army can call Lee Anderson at 906-364-0406 or Jaime Stiffarm at 715-360-8563.


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