The coins you toss into Salvation Army kettles aren't used to feed a wholesale charity maw to benefit Timbuktu. Instead, your donations are put to work here, in Payson, to help people throughout the community.
"All the money we get at kettle locations stays local," said Wynn Wojcik of Time Out Shelter and a volunteer bell ringer. "They've just been a tremendous help. In fact, they helped me out."
Kettle coins create funding for transportation, prescriptions and other basic necessities for women, escaping from dangerous domestic situations, who use the Time Out Shelter.
"They've helped with gas money when ladies had to flee the area for safety," said Wojcik.
To continue this tradition of sharing, the Salvation Army Unit of Payson needs more volunteer bell ringers.
"We have about 30 shifts open," said Jenny Wegner, one of the program's coordinators.
If more people volunteer, Wegner said, the Salvation Army could open two other locations at Walgreens and Bashas' in addition to the two stations already in operation at Wal-Mart and Safeway.
The shifts are two hours, the first starting at 8 a.m.; the last shift ending at 6 p.m. Collections will continue through Dec. 24.
Tim Fruth, assistant principal at Payson High School and a Payson town councilor, is one of the volunteers who helps the Salvation Army every holiday season. This year, his daughter, Jordyn, joined him.
"We participate because we think it's a great charity," Fruth said. "All the money collected locally stays here. I know the needs. I also know Jenny Wegner and Ray Kinsman (another coordinator) and all the effort they put in."
The Salvation Army is seeking volunteers every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Clubs, agencies, and individuals are welcome to donate their time. Persons needing court-ordered community service hours can receive credit for volunteering.
The Salvation Army assists needy families with gas vouchers, utility disconnects, medication, transportation, bus fare, some rent assistance, food, and lodging. In March, they'll cover a $20 co-pay for Vision USA eye examinations. The group also sends up to 10 children to Salvation Army Camp, which costs $200 per child, each summer.
Local donations can be made at National Bank of Arizona, 254 East Highway 260 in Payson.
To schedule a shift, contact Wegner at (928) 970-0601, or Kinsman at (928) 474-6577.