Salvation Army bell-ringers are coming to Callaway.
After about a four-year hiatus, an extension of the Salvation Army is returning to the county to serve those in need. Before the extension unit opens, the traditional Salvation Army Christmas Red Kettle Campaign will kick off at 8 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2. The campaign will begin with Mayor LeRoy Benton reading a proclamation that morning at the Fulton Walmart naming December "Red Kettle Month" and dropping the first donation into the kettle.
Bell-ringers will ask for donations to the kettles at Walmart and C&R Market every Friday and Saturday in December. Several area businesses will also display a countertop kettle to collect money.
Ed Varnum, pastor of First Christian Church in Fulton, contacted the Salvation Army Midland Division in St. Louis about opening up an extension in Callaway. He decided to approach the office about a branch after having to turn away people who came to the church for help because of insufficient funds. Varnum explained that even though there are other service agencies available in the county, there are times when they cannot meet certain needs.
Varnum said he had people come to him and say, "I am in need and I haven't found anyone who can help me right now, because of their funding or their parameters."
The new unit - which will be located at First Christian Church - will not duplicate what other service agencies offer but try to fill the gap and help out in emergency situations, Varnum said. He also said it will not offer a clothes closet or food pantry as those services are already provided by SERVE, Inc.
"This will be very, very focused and streamlined," Varnum said.