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Just hear those sleigh bells ringing

Salvation Army Red Kettles now accepting credit cards

By Hannah Kepros
On December 6, 2011

The timeless sound of sleigh bells ringing upon entering a department store during the holiday season is back once again this year. The Salvation Army's Red Kettles are outside almost every store imaginable with a smiling volunteer, who is hoping to collect the extra change in everyone's pockets.

Locally, some department stores that have Red Kettles are: Festival Foods (La Crosse and Onalaska), Wal-Mart, Macy's, and Walgreens. As convenient as the locations are, the convenience of people having spare change immediately ready is not. As our generations moves toward a world where everything is electronic, cash is not always on hand. Luckily, The Salvation Army has a solution for this problem.

This year, The Salvation Army announced that they will now be accepting credit and debit cards to make a more convenient payment process for those who simply do not have cash on the spot, but still wish to help out during the holiday season.

The credit cards will be processed via on-site smart phones that have credit card readers attached. This smart phone technology was donated by Sprint. According The Salvation Army website, more than 80,000 card readers will be available for use across the country; but a question remains, will it work?

Jasmine Dunn, a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Junior, said, "I do not think the credit card swipers will be better because there might be some sort of fee they would have to pay for accepting credit. Also, most people only give a couple dollars so I do not think they would charge such a small amount. It would take people more time to stop and sign the receipt, rather than just passing by and dropping in the money."

As some are doubtful, only time will tell if this new technology will be beneficial to the charity. This year is the 120th year of the Red Kettle Campaign, which brought in over $142 million last year, according to the website. These funds help support families in need by supplying food, clothing, and daily living supplies every year.

As much as people want to help, sometimes the extra funds are simply not there. For example, college students use spare change spare change for personal food, gas, and living supplies. If you are interested in donating this holiday season, but do not have the extra money laying around, monetary donations are not the only form of generosity.

There are numerous volunteer opportunities, provided by The Salvation Army, right here in the La Crosse area. Bell ringing  is a popular choice for participation in the Red Kettle Campaign. If interested, you can find out more information and sign up on www.ringbells.org. Information for other volunteer locations can also be obtained on this website for people who may be traveling back home for the holidays.


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