- Some people who need a helping hand will get one — about 100 of them, to be more exact — from the nearly 50 West Middle School students who are ringing the bell for the Salvation Army
MUSCATINE, Iowa — Around the holidays, the Salvation Army Kettle bell ringers come in all shapes and sizes — and ages.
On Thursday morning, three eighth-graders and one sixth-grader from West Middle School rang the little red bell at the Hy-Vee Drugstore. All but one of the students have never rung the bell before.
As part of the West Cares program, around 80 West Middle School students volunteered to take part in the Salvation Army’s Kettle Drive. However, some weren’t able to man the kettles because there were more kids than slots available to ring the bell.
In all about 50 students were enlisted to help out at the kettles.
“I signed up because I like helping people and raising money for different organizations,” eighth-grader Karla Jara said.
Throughout the year, students at West Middle School take part in school events to raise money for the Humane Society, local food pantries, the Muscatine Center for Social Action, and other local organizations.
Eighth-grader Lillian Terry said she enjoys doing the fundraising activities because it leaves her with a good feeling.
Lawrence said the school established the West Cares program about four years ago.
“We want our kids to think about there being a world out there bigger than them,” Lawrence said. “It’s good for students to get in touch with causes.”
Principal John Lawrence said that if the school does this again, “we’ll sit down before Thanksgiving and work more efficiently with the Salvation Army [on getting the students who want to volunteer out there].”
Lawrence said during last year’s fundraising events for West Cares, students collected around $2,750 for various local organizations and collected more than 3,500 pounds of non-perishable food items for the food pantry.
The Muscatine Salvation Army has so far collected $92,000 from the Kettle Drive. The goal is $140,000. The Salvation Army pulls its kettles in on Christmas Eve.