Local Salvation Army unit seeks bell ringers

Submitted by the Hudson Service Unit of the Salvation Army

Living in Hudson is not always what it seems.

July 2023 was a hot month, and Helen (not her real name) had a problem. Her electricity was being disconnected. After living in Hudson for five years, this was a first for her.  She was already working two jobs when her husband had a stroke, losing a large portion of the family income. Unable to keep payments current, her credit card had maxed out and was accruing interest.

Facing an electricity bill of more than $700, Helen was out of options. She called the Salvation Army as a last resort. Its Hudson Service Unit stepped in, working with the electric company to set up an installment payment plan and making the first payment on her behalf so the electricity remained active.

On a macro level, the Salvation Army is America’s largest social services provider. In 2022, it had more than 1.4 million volunteers, provided over 8 million nights of shelter to the homeless and served more than 155 million meals. But it also functions on a micro level, working on-site where people live. In Hudson, it relies on a volunteer service unit of three: Jim Lang, Jeffrey McCandless and Van Carter.  

According to Summit County Coordinator Captain Anita Albert-Watson, “since 1884, the Salvation Army has worked in Hudson to meet needs on an unseen, unheard and invisible basis through a small cadre of volunteers who function as the gateway to economic and material resources such as food, rental assistance, utility assistance, clothing and a myriad of other services.”

To provide this help, the Hudson Service Unit depends 100% on contributions raised in Hudson through its Red Kettle campaign held at Acme Fresh Market on West Streetsboro. Since COVID, however, it’s been extremely hard to obtain volunteer “bell ringers.” This led to reduced collections and made it necessary to hire more paid bell ringers, which increased expenses. The result was a deep reduction in net funds available to help people in Hudson.

“That’s why, this year, we are designating December 3 as Red Kettle Day in Hudson,” said Mayor Jeffrey Anzevino. “As mayor, I would like to recognize the Salvation Army, the important role that it fulfills in Hudson and its request for our community’s support.”

“The Salvation Army and our Hudson neighbors need support, and I believe Hudsonites will answer the call to help. My family is happy to volunteer, and I hope many others will as well,” explained Scott Ruffer, Ward 4 Hudson City Councilperson. 

Per Captain Albert-Watson, “Due to the generosity of Acme Fresh Markets, which houses the Red Kettle site each year, the campaign runs from Nov. 3-Dec. 23, except on Sundays. As a business, church or civic organization, you can adopt the kettle for a day or more and have your staff take shifts, or you can be an individual volunteer for a 2-hour shift.”

Mayor Anzevino made this special plea: “Hudson is a caring and generous community. I would like to ask that you remember the Salvation Army’s mission and consider supporting their Red Kettle Day program at the Acme Fresh Market location here in Hudson.”

If you or someone you know living in Hudson needs help, call 216-554-5057. To volunteer to “ring the bell,” to drive or to offer other help to the Hudson Service Unit, call or text 216-532-3343. ∞

Photo: Volunteers of the Salvation Army Hudson Service Unit (l-r) Jim Lang and Jeff McCandless are joined by Hudson Mayor Jeffrey Anzevino and Ward 4 Council Member Scott Ruffer in calling for community bell ringers. Money raised via the Red Kettle campaign supports people in need locally. Photo submitted.