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Bell ringers needed in Potosi

Volunteers are still needed for bell ringing at the Potosi Walmart location. Washington County Red Kettle Campaigns are organized by and benefit the Washington County Salvation Army.

“Ringers are still desperately needed to finish this season. When no one is ringing, no money is being collected,” said Eddie Strauser, bell coordinator of the Washington County Salvation Army Chapter.

This year’s goal is $12,000 and Strauser reports that they currently are at less than half of the goal collected.

The Salvation Army picks up costs that other local agencies may not be able to pay. This includes assisting those in need with purchase of medications, transportation to medical appointments, food, clothing, rent and utility deposits.

The bell ringing campaign goes until Christmas Eve. Those interested in volunteering can call Eddie at 573-438-3882 to arrange a time to ring.

According to the Salvation Army, in 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee, was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry.

During the holiday season, he resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. He only had one major hurdle to overcome — funding the project.

As he pondered the issue, his thoughts drifted back to his sailor days in Liverpool, England. He remembered how at Stage Landing, where the boats came in, there was a large, iron kettle called “Simpson’s Pot” into which passers-by tossed a coin or two to help the poor.

The next day Captain McFee placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street. Beside the pot, he placed a sign that read, “Keep the Pot Boiling.”

He soon had the money to see that the needy people were properly fed at Christmas.

Captain McFee’s kettle idea launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but all across the world. Kettles are now used in such distant lands as Korea, Japan, Chile and many European countries.

Everywhere, public contributions to Salvation Army kettles enable the organization to continue its year-round efforts at helping those who would otherwise be forgotten. The Salvation Army assists more than 4.5 million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas time periods.

Don Ross rings the bell last year for the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army is in need of bell ringers in Potosi. 

Don Ross rings the bell last year for the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army is in need of bell ringers in Potosi. 

Matt McFarland is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616, or at

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