Home Local News Salvation Army Red Kettles return to Hobbs on limited basis

Salvation Army Red Kettles return to Hobbs on limited basis

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An icon of the holiday season will indeed be putting in an appearance in Hobbs this year, but on a limited basis.

The ubiquitous Red Kettles, the familiar fundraising draw for the Salvation Army, will be at three Hobbs locations this year, Lt. Shannon Brown, Hobbs Corps Officer, said. Kettles and bell ringers will be stationed at the Albertsons Market on Grimes Street, the Thriftway grocery store on Turner and outside Hobby Lobby, at 1810 N. Turner St., in Hobbs.

“It’s just for a short time,” Brown said. “Just until just before Christmas.”

Bell ringers will be at the three locations starting probably Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., depending on volunteer availability, she said.

In addition, three businesses in Hobbs have agreed to the placement of “counter kettles,” small collection sites where patrons may drop monetary donations, she said. Those can be found at the Casey’s Restaurant and The Workhorse, both on North Broadway in downtown Hobbs, and at Higginbotham Bartlett Hardware Store at 600 E. Bender Blvd.

Bell ringers at the three locations will observe social distancing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Brown said, including backing away from their kettles when people approach to drop their donations.

Originally, there weren’t going to be any Red Kettles, she said. But, Tuesday, an email was sent out from a state Salvation Army liaison that the kettles would be allowed, if businesses agreed and depending on the comfort level of individual Salvation Army units.

There are virtual options to give for people who don’t want to use the kettles, she said. People can text the phrase “RedKettles” to 51555. They can also go online to redkettlenewmexico.org to give, Brown said.

“You can select which (corps) you want to donate to, throughout New Mexico,” she said. People here would most likely want to donate to Hobbs.”

Another annual staple of the Salvation Army, the Angel Tree, is proceeding this year, but in a slightly different manner.

Brown said she wasn’t sure how successful the annual drive to get toys and gifts into the hands of children was going to work this year. Many of the locations which normally host Angel Tree displays were experiencing drastically reduced customer traffic, due to COVID-19 restrictions. So, on Tuesday, Brown gathered up the Angel Tree tags that hadn’t been picked up and rolled them into an overall toy drive for different entities being managed by United Way of Lea County.

“The Salvation Army wasn’t able to get their tree hanging done in the places they’re used to, so we went ahead and took their (Angel Tree) things,” said Becca Titus, president and CEO of United Way of Lea County. “We’re going to help out with that.”

UWoLC is acting as a “central hub” for numerous groups wanting to provide toys for children this year, Titus said. Because the local United Way office has a small staff, “we feel we can operate and do the good work. So many places can’t do that.

“We didn’t want (the toy drives) to be lost completely. We’re going to see more kids needing toys this year. We didn’t want that to be gone.”

Giving to the Salvation Army, however people chose to do so, is important this year, Brown said. Though she’s only been assigned to the Hobbs Salvation Army since August, Brown believes there’s more need now than in years past.

“I know the numbers (of people in need) have drastically gone up,” she said. “We are seeing a greater need. We’ve seen our numbers actually double in the past week.”

The Salvation Army in Hobbs is giving out 500 to 700 food boxes a month, Brown said. The group’s assistance is typically need based – people have to have an event or change that’s impacted them. The COVID-19 pandemic definitely qualifies, she said.

“We’re trying to find ways to not have to turn anybody away,” Brown said. “We want to serve the people who need help. We’re trying to focus on the people who really need help because the numbers are so high.”

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