Shelia Jennings pulled money from her purse and placed it in a Salvation Army Red Kettle at Walmart Thursday. Afterward, she told Tarboro Golden K Kiwanis member Charles Gregory, “Thank you for doing this.”
The Golden K Kiwanis are manning two posts at Walmart while one kettle is being manned at the Tarboro Piggly Wiggly by store employees.
The majority of the money collected will be used to purchase gifts for children in Nash and Edgecombe counties. Nash County also has bell ringers at several sites.
For seven years, ringing the bell has become a ritual for Golden K member Carlton Mosely. He feels as if it is a part of his civic duty.
“It’s a way of giving back,” he said while manning his kettle. “It beats sitting around home, twiddling my thumbs.”
He said one of his fondest memories while manning the post was, “When a man stopped by sometimes after the flood with his son. He told the boy, ‘Don’t you ever pass by one of these posts without putting any money in it. These folks have been good to us.’”
Tarboro has been good supporter of the Kettle Drive since 1999 when Bill Calvert and Madeleine Bass fought to bring the effort back the community after it was absent for several years.
Then, several kettles were strewn throughout the town. As years passed, there were fewer and fewer volunteers until now, when the are only two locations.
Piggly Wiggly nearly lost its bell for lack of volunteers, but the store owner/operator Kenny Honeycutt didn’t allow it under his watch.
“Last year, we could not secure enough volunteers to man our store and they told us that we were not going to have a kettle,” Honeycutt said. “I was disappointed. I said that is not right. We don’t have a kettle on this side of the town. So, I told them to bring us the bell and we we will ring it. We would be glad to do it.”
Honeycutt pointed out that the bell ringers are paid employees with the exception of last Friday, when a Salvation Army employee rang the bell for a few hours.
This season, countertop kettles will be placed in several locations, including the Salvation Army Thrift Store, On The Square, Rusty Gifts and Thorne Drugs.
An estimated 1,200 children from Nash and Edgecombe counties will be benefit from the kettle drive, said Salvation Army Capt. Cristina Trantham. Families applied for the assistance in October. Last year Edgecombe and Nash counties combined raised $104,783 and Trantham said this years’ goal is the same.
“We are grateful for those who are giving to others who are in need,” she said.