Cazenovia As holiday light displays add to the festive sights around town, the spirit of the season can also be heard ringing from volunteers standing in front of the familiar Red Kettle.
This year, more than 160 Cazenovia High School students have donated their time to the Salvation Army, collecting money for the less-fortunate.
“We are always seeking adults and students to join in running this six-week program. The student participation has allowed us to enlarge the scope of the program in Cazenovia,” said Ellen Romagnoli, area coordinator for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign. “It would not be possible without them. They bring a great energy to the task.”
A few weeks ago, students signed up to ring the bell and man the kettle for two-hour shifts in front of Kinney Drugs or Tops Supermarket in Cazenovia.
Romagnoli said some students volunteered for multiple shifts. The hours each student logs is put toward their requisite 10 hours of community service per year.
“It’s an easy activity, and it benefits a lot of people,” said 16-year-old Becky Marris. “It feels good to help out the community.”
Of all the funds raised during the holiday season, 90 percent is returned to the Cazenovia community.
The Salvation Army uses the funds to sponsor programs at CazCares, such as Christmas Baskets, which provides food to 300 local families, and the “ABC” program, which provides apples, bread and carrots for needy families with children during the summer months, in the absence of the school lunch program.
CazCares is also able to purchase backpacks for children through their back-to-school efforts with the funds returned following the Red Kettle Campaigns.
Last year, Cazenovia volunteers for the Salvation Army collected $6,200 during the holidays.
“We could not achieve the success we have seen without the assistance of our whole community. The stores have been patient and generous in allowing us to ring in their lobbies,” Romagnoli said. “Oneida Savings Bank and M&T Bank have helped deposit and count the donations. The high school and churches provide volunteers, along with Katie O’Brien and her students at Cazenovia College. It takes a village to fill a kettle.”