By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – The Salvation Army (TSA) has officially kicked off its Red Kettle Campaign with bell ringers popping up in parking lots throughout the area. This holiday season TSA has partnered with locally based Friends of Families in Transition (FFIT), offering to “pay” the organization an hourly rate for every bell ringing shift that is covered by a volunteer.
The mission of Friends of FIT is to support families from their entrance into emergency motel shelter to their move to permanent or other transitional housing. The group also supports families struggling with maintaining housing or contemplating entry into the state’s Emergency Assistance program. The small, all volunteer organization, which recently received 501 c(3) nonprofit status, operates wholly on donations. It stands to raise $3,800 if all available shifts are filled.
According to Dru Lindgren, the Marlborough FFIT coordinator, TSA has been very supportive of the organization as well as the families in the community who are living in motels through the state’s emergency shelter system. FFIT has been working closely with Mike Skoog of TSA over the past year, continually looking for ways in which TSA can have an impact on the organization. One way that TSA has helped is by providing seasonal vouchers which can be used to buy clothing at Salvation Army stores.
Funds raised from the TSA/Friends of FIT Red Kettle Campaign partnership will be used to purchase emergency food, personal care products, and baby supplies such as diapers and wipes for families in transition. FFIT will benefit by the funds raised through the Kettle Campaign, Lindgren said, as well as through the exposure that it will gain through this partnership.
Joining in the effort to raise money for FFIT, Lindgren is on the schedule to ring the bell at Price Chopper in Marlborough in December. Her husband and children have signed up for shifts as well.
“I’ve always wanted to ring that iconic red bell. It is especially poignant knowing that the families we support will benefit directly,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for all ages to do some community service during the holidays.”
According to Lindgren, there are still many bell ringing shifts available at Price Chopper in Marlborough and both the Stop and Shop and the Market Basket in Hudson. Shifts are available between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday (depending on the particular store’s hours.)