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The ringing of the bells

Local students, residents collect funds for Salvation Army, less-fortunate families

Kinney Drugs store supervisor Jen Winn, right, displays the 2011 Red Kettle Award the store earned from the Salvation Army. With Winn are Kaitlyn Gerber, left, and Brody Kellish who both served as Cazenovia High School student coordinators for the event.

Kinney Drugs store supervisor Jen Winn, right, displays the 2011 Red Kettle Award the store earned from the Salvation Army. With Winn are Kaitlyn Gerber, left, and Brody Kellish who both served as Cazenovia High School student coordinators for the event. Eric Johnson

— The foundry that has traditionally produced the Salvation Army’s famous bells for years was recently destroyed by fire, but that isn’t keeping local volunteers — most of them Cazenovia High School students — from collecting money for area families in serious need.

Now through Christmas Eve day, volunteers will set up the familiar Salvation Army Red Kettles in front of Tops Supermarket and Kinney Drugs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, according to Sherry Kellish, the campaign’s local coordinator.

Kellish and co-worker Sharon Gerber have been recruiting local high school students to man the kettles in two-hour shifts, often in frigid, blustery conditions tolerated best by the young.

“This is truly a co-operative effort,” Kellish said. “The high school students are donating their time to a good cause and at the same time are earning credit toward the 40 hours of community service required for graduation.”

Kellish said the student bell-ringers, some of whom are joined by their families, collected more that $7,000 last year and hope to break the record this year because of increased need.

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Tops Supermarket also earned the Salvation Army’s 2011 Red Kettle Award. With Kellish and Gerber is Tops store manager, Joe Rizzo, right.

“Cazenovia High School’s student coordinators, Kaitlyn Gerber and Brody Kellish, help us recruit students and log numerous hours as bell ringers themselves. They help to make reminder phone calls, fill in when volunteers can’t make their shift, and drop off and pick up the kettles as needed,” Kellish said. “We’ve had many student volunteers ring numerous times over every year of high school. It is a cause that unites all of us, but the volunteers and their enthusiasm are what make everything work. Of course, the generosity of our local community is always reliable and extremely appreciated.”

Approximately 90 percent of all the money raised during the Kettle Campaign stays in Cazenovia and is used to pay for the programs operated by CazCares.

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