Tonganoxie bell ringers raise funds for families
Four Tonganoxie organizations the Knights of Columbus, Chapter AT of PEO, the Tonganoxie Civic Club and the Veterans of Foreign Wars have taken over this year's local bell ringing for the Salvation Army.
In some towns, this turns into a competition, said Richard Brown, caseworker for the Leaven-worth Salvation Army.
In Leaven-worth, bell ringers compete to see which organization brings in the most donations, he said.
"There's an ongoing feud between the Kiwanis clubs and the Lions clubs to see who are the best bell ringers and the best collectors of money," Brown said. "They try to outdo each other every year."
Mavis Thomas, the Salvation Army's office administrator, said last year's bell ringers in Leavenworth County raised $49,127. Of that, Tonganoxie bell ringers brought in $1,828.
Brown estimated that about $12,000 has gone back into the Tonganoxie, Linwood, Basehor and McLouth area this year to assist about 176 people. Countywide, the charity has helped 764 families with rent, utilities, food, clothing, furniture and prescriptions.
Currently the organization is taking applications for holiday assistance.
"I think we probably have gotten 24 or 25 people from Tonganoxie that have applied for Christmas assistance," Thomas said.
To those on the holiday list, the Salvation Army provides food for Christmas dinner and toys for children in the family, and clothing.
In some instances, area residents support the charity all year long, not just at Christmas time,
"There are several people from Tonganoxie that are regular supporters during the year," Thomas said. "We have one family that contributes all year long and at Christmas time they generally come in and give us $500."