Kettle volunteers are needed for Salvation Army’s holiday drive |

Kettle volunteers are needed for Salvation Army’s holiday drive

Janet Urquhart

The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to ring a bell and man the kettles in Aspen for the organization’s annual Christmas collection of spare change.

This year’s collection in Aspen will help open a pair of critical facilities to aid the valley’s working poor, according to Karolyn Spencer, a Salvation Army caseworker in Glenwood Springs.

In Aspen, City Councilman Jim Markalunas is urging local residents to help man kettles outside City Market and Clark’s Market during the holiday season (you don’t have to wear a Santa Claus outfit). The organization’s traditional fund drive will start this weekend and run through Christmas, Markalunas said. If enough people offer to help, the kettles may be out on a few weekdays as well, he said.

Standing outside in the cold to help with the kettle drive can warm the heart, according to Markalunas.

“Getting your feet cold helps you understand what it’s like for people who don’t have adequate clothes or warm shelter or a warm meal,” he said.

Last year’s drive in Aspen, with just one kettle at City Market, raised about $4,000, according to Spencer. This year, $1,000 of the proceeds will stay in Aspen and the rest will go to Glenwood Springs to help fund two facilities planned to assist valley residents. Many of them, she stressed, come to the valley to work in Aspen.

Spencer hopes to see a sleep center and a day center open next year. The Salvation Army in Glenwood has already collected $38,000 in donations to operate the day center. A building has been offered for the project, she said. Another $12,000 will allow it to open.

Spencer hopes to open the doors in February.

The day center will offer a shower, laundry facilities, telephones, counseling – even an address for people who don’t have one, Spencer explained.

“It will provide anybody who needs it with the basic services needed to get and keep a job,” she explained.

The idea is to provide temporary help to people until they’ve received a few paychecks and can make it on their own.

The 20-bed sleep center will be built with capital funds from the Salvation Army in Denver, according to Spencer. Local contributions are needed to fund its operation. Spencer has some possible sites in mind and would like to see the organization break ground on the project next spring.

Together, the two centers will provide the missing link in the safety net the valley provides for people who need help getting back on their feet, she said.

The working poor can already find a thrift shop in Glenwood for clothes, meals at the Extended Table and foodstuffs provided by Lift-Up. The Salvation Army supplements those services, Spencer said, providing rent assistance, prescriptions, emergency assistance with utility bills, motel rooms and the like.

Anyone who’d like to drop a check in the kettles instead of cash should designate it for local use – Salvation Army local sleep center, for example, Spencer added. “Otherwise, I have to give it to Denver,” she said.

Checks to the local Salvation Army can be mailed to: Salvation Army, P.O. Box 2964, Glenwood Springs, CO 81602.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the Aspen kettle drive should call Markalunas at 925-7071.

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