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Red Kettle Campaign: Profile of a Volunteer

By CAROLINE GABLE

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) The Salvation Army's Red Kettle holiday campaign is ringing loud and clear. But is anyone listening during tough economic times?

Beyond the red kettle and its donations there is a bell ringer, name Jeff Lacatus. Like so many Americans, he's had a tough year. "Because I'm unemployed I decided this is a good thing to do with my time," says Lacatus, who recently lost his job. Come rain or shine, lake effect snow or single digits, Lacatus is ringing his bell outside the New Hartford Wal-mart. Lacatus doubles up his socks, and braves the cold saying, "it is only by the grace of god that I was able to ring this bell," in single temperatures.

Nationally, the Red Kettle campaign is trying to raise $3 million, and with the count down to Christmas on they need all the help that they can get. Their financial progress so far, $722,356.59. But the form of help comes in more than just dollars and cents. It comes in the form of volunteers, which locally have been harder to come by this year than normal. "I think we have like half the amount of bell ringers for reasons of which I have no idea why," said Lacatus, as he thanked a supporter.

Because of bell ringers, parents can teach their own children that your never to little to reach deep into your pockets.Theresa Cittadino gave her three small children coins to put in the kettle, "they love doing it they think its really fun and they like helping other children who are less fortunate than they are."

The Red Kettle Campaign continues until Christmas Eve.

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