The generosity of Chillicothe area residents produced a record amount of giving for those in need of a little help.
Donations broke the $20,000 mark for the first time, Salvation Army Extension Director Ed Dutton told the group of volunteers Jan. 9 at the Victory Celebration.
The record amount of money followed the previous year’s record of more than $15,000.
That sum of money, however, was not enough to help as many residents who sought help with emergency needs of shelter, rent, utilities, medicine and more.
Once the money ran out with two months to go, Dutton was forced to put a sign on the door at Assembly of God Church, where the Love-In-Action food pantry is located. He also is the pastor there.
Wanting to make sure he did not face the same problem again this year with challenging economic times seeming to continue, he
chatted with Joe Langenstein of St. Edward about what they could do.
They came up with the matching program, which gave this year’s kettle proceeds a boost of $7,200.
Getting on board quickly to help with the matching was CEFCU with $1,000, which Dutton said assisted in securing other funding. Couples, individuals and some anonymous givers matched days of ringing or partial days of ringing.
“When people understood we ran out of money, they stepped up to the plate,” said Dutton.
One couple said they would donate up to $500 to match ringing for a day. When Dutton called them back to let them know that the day brought in $675, so all of their $500 would be matched, he was surprised to receive a check in the mail for $675 instead of the $500 promised.
Some groups matched what they brought in at the kettle with their own funds, such as the missions committee matching what First United Methodist Church rang.
Dutton said he hopes in the future all the money brought in the kettle can be matched.
The final total, which may have additional money added to it, is $20,185.71.
Volunteers, many ringing with a group, participate in a friendly challenge to see who can ring in the most money.
St. Edward Catholic Church maintained its position as the top group overall with $3,864.45, as well as the top church.
The Chillicothe Fire Department came in second for groups with $2,758.53. The firemen always ring the Saturday before Christmas and the day before Christmas, Dutton said.
The top celebrity bell ringer was Roger Reliford and the Special Touch Choir of Assembly of God Church with $206.93. Reliford also volunteered his time ringing throughout the season and brought in $1,759.44.
The IVC Challenge winner, which goes to the top high school group, went to the French National Honor Society with $529.57.
While there is only one kettle in town at Kroger, residents may stuff their donation into counter kettles in local businesses. The top counter kettle this year was at Beck’s Oil, which actually has two registers with kettles. The gas station gathered $306.16, followed by Casey’s General Store.
Other notable totals included the Assembly of God Church, $2,372.08; First United Methodist Church, $806.46; Chillicothe Christian Church, $526.04; Chillicothe Bible Church, $359.70; and VFW 4999 Ladies Auxiliary, $268.80.
Helping to keep everything straight is South Side Bank counting and depositing the funds.